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European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 257–269

First Online: 09 November 2010


Although Hong Kong has one of the best life expectancy LE records in the world, second only to Japan for women, we know very little about the changes in the health status of the older adult population. Our article aims to provide a better understanding of trends in both chronic morbidity and disability for older men and women. The authors compute chronic morbidity-free and disability-free life expectancy and the proportion of both in relation to total LE using the Sullivan method to examine whether Hong Kong older adults are experiencing a compression of morbidity and disability and whether there is any gender difference in relation to mortality and morbidity. The results of this study show that Hong Kong women tend to outlive Hong Kong men but are also more likely to suffer from a ‘double disadvantage’, namely more years of life with more chronic morbidity and disability. There has also been a significant expansion of chronic morbidity, as chronic morbidity-free life expectancy CMFLE decreased substantially for both genders from 1996 to 2008. Although disability-free life expectancy DFLE increased during this period, it increased at a slower pace compared to LE. The proportion of life without chronic morbidity also declined remarkably during these 12 years. Among the advanced ages, the proportion of remaining life in good health without disability has decreased since 1996, indicating a relative expansion of disability.

KeywordsHealthy life expectancy Chronic morbidity and disability Gender gap Hong Kong SAR Communicated by Dorly J.H. Deeg.

The earlier version of this research article was presented at 21st REVES 2009: Reducing gaps in health expectancy, May 27–29, 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Autor: Karen Siu Lan Cheung - Paul Siu Fai Yip


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