Women live longer, but not always in good health

Figures collected by the Institute of Public Health (ISP) show that Belgian women on average live 5.6 years longer than Belgian men. However, during these extra years, their health is not always as it should be. The figures put Belgium in the European top-10.

The ISP did research on "life expectancy in good health". The aim was to find out whether a longer life is compatible with a good health. Somebody is in "good health" when he or she has no physical restrictions and no chronic disease, and when the persons think of themselves as being fit.

"Belgian statistics show that men who were 15 in 2008 will reach 77.2 years of age on average. For women, this is 82.2 years", explains Professor Van Oyen. "But if we look at how long we live in good health, then the age is the same for men and women: 65.6 years. We can conclude that women live longer, but with more health problems."

Figures also reveal regional differences. Flemish men can look forward to an average age of 78.4 years, compared to 77.2 years in Brussels and 75.1 years in Wallonia. The years in good health are 67.9, 63.2 and 61.8 years respectively. This means that a Flemish man on average has 6 years more in good health than someone living in Wallonia.