Active Life Expectancy: A Central Measure of Population Health

  • Sarah B. Laditka
  • James N. Laditka
Part of the International Handbooks of Population book series (IHOP, volume 1)

An important aspect of population health is increasingly measured by disability indicators. Active life expectancy, also often referred to as health expectancy, has emerged as a useful indicator of population health. This indicator was first proposed by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare (1969) nearly 40 years ago and has been widely adopted for use by the World Health Organization and governments throughout the world to monitor population health. Researchers commonly partition total life expectancy into two parts. One part is healthy life expectancy, also often referred to as active life expectancy or disability-free life expectancy. This component is a measure of the years an individual can expect to live free of disability. The second part measures the years a person can expect to live with disability, also commonly referred to as inactive life expectancy or disabled life expectancy. Although the phrase “active life expectancy” refers to the period of life without disability, the same phrase is often used to describe this entire research area. Thus, a researcher who studies active life expectancy is interested to estimate the periods of life spent with and without disability.


Assistive Technology Health Expectancy Healthy Life Expectancy Active Life Expectancy Total Life Expectancy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah B. Laditka
    • 1
  • James N. Laditka
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotte, NCUSA
  2. 2.University of North Carolina – CharlotteCharlotte, NCUSA

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