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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Print version ISSN 0042-9686


ANDREEV, Evgueni M.; MCKEE, Martin  and  SHKOLNIKOV, Vladimir M.. Health expectancy in the Russian Federation: a new perspective on the health divide in Europe. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2003, vol.81, n.11, pp.778-787. ISSN 0042-9686.

OBJECTIVES: To compare life expectancy and healthy life expectancy in the Russian Federation and in countries of Eastern and Western Europe. METHODS: WHO mortality data and data on self-reported health from the World Values Survey and the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey were used to compare the above three regions. Life expectancy was calculated using Sullivan's method, with years of life lived divided into healthy and unhealthy. The gap in healthy life expectancy between the Russian Federation and Western Europe was examined by decomposing the difference by gender and age. FINDINGS: The probability of remaining alive and healthy declines faster in the Russian Federation than in Western Europe, with the gap between Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation widening at older ages. In the Russian Federation, this rapid decline is due mainly to the high probability of death or of poor health for men and women, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: There is a large toll of premature male mortality in the Russian Federation but there also appears to be a substantial burden of ill-health among women. As in other countries, the responses of men and women to adversity differ, leading to premature death in men but survival in a poor state of health in women. Epidemiological studies including objective measures of health would help policy-makers to estimate more precisely the scale and nature of this problem. Policy-makers must recognize that health expectancy in the Russian Federation is reduced in both men and women.

Keywords : Life expectancy; Health status; Health status indicators; Mortality; Probability; Sex factors; Age factors; Comparative study; Russian Federation; Europe, Eastern; Europe.

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