By Ilonka Oudenampsen
At the age of 65, European men are expected to live another 17.4 years and European women another 21 years, according to Eurostat’s healthy life years and life expectancy at 65 figures of 2010.
In the 27 member states, women aged 65 are expected to live a further 8.8 years in a healthy condition, compared to 8.7 years for men. Eurostat defines a healthy condition by the absence of limitations in functioning/disability, measured by a self-perceived question asking for the extent of any limitations in activities people usually do caused by a health problem, for at least the past six months. However, it pointed out that data might not be fully comparable due to different ways of phrasing the question at national level.
The statistical office of the European Union found that in 2010, the longest life expectancy at 65 for women was observed in France (23.4 years), Spain (22.7 years) and Italy (22.1 years in 2009), and for men in France (18.9 years), Spain (18.6 years) and Greece (18.5 years). The shortest life expectancy at 65 for women was recorded in Bulgaria (17.0 years), Romania (17.2 years in 2009) and Slovakia (18.0 years), and for men in Latvia (13.3 years), Lithuania (13.5 years) and Bulgaria (13.6 years).
However, member states with the highest life expectancy at age 65 are not necessarily the same as those with the most healthy life years at age 65. While women have a longer life expectancy at 65 than men in all member states, in ten member states men have a higher number of healthy life years at the age of 65 than women.
In 2010, the highest number of healthy life years at 65 for women was recorded in Sweden (15.5 years), Denmark (12.8 years), Luxembourg (12.4 years), Malta (11.9 years) and the United Kingdom (11.8 years), and for men in Sweden (14.1 years), Malta (12.0 years), Denmark (11.8 years), Ireland (11.1 years) and the United Kingdom (10.8 years).
The lowest number of healthy life years for both women and men was observed in Slovakia (2.8 years for women and 3.3 years for men), followed by Romania (5.0 years) and Estonia (5.5 years) for women, and Latvia (4.9 years) and Estonia (5.3 years) for men.