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Stephan, Anna-Janina; Schwettmann, Lars; Meisinger, Christa; Ladwig, Karl-Heinz; Linkohr, Birgit; Thorand, Barbara; Schulz, Holger; Peters, Annette and Grill, Eva (2020): Living longer but less healthy: The female disadvantage in health expectancy. Results from the KORA-Age study. In: Experimental Gerontology, Vol. 145, 111196

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Objectives We explored the male-female health-survival paradox in the context of health expectancy (HE) at age 65 and thereafter, using three different morbidity measures and different severity cut-offs with and without adjustments for the share of nursing home residents.

Methods HE at ages 65, 70, 75, 80, and 85 was estimated with the Sullivan method, linking morbidity prevalence from the KORA (Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg)-Age study to 2016 Bavarian mortality data. Morbidity measures comprised deficit accumulation (Frailty Index, FI, cut-offs 0.08 and 0.25), disability (Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index, HAQ-DI, cut-off >0) and participation (Global Activity Limitation Indicator, GALI, “limited” vs “not limited”).

Results Morbidity data were available for 4083 participants (52.7% female). HE was lower in women than in men at all ages. Differences in morbidity prevalence, absolute HE, and health proportions of life expectancy (relative HE) increased with age for FI ≥ 0.25 and GALI, but not for HAQ-DI > 0 and FI > 0.08. Accounting for the share of nursing home residents resulted in a slight reduction of HE estimates but had no impact on estimated sex differences.

Conclusions In HE at age 65 and thereafter, women's health disadvantage was larger than their life expectancy advantage over men.

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