In 2016, the number of years a person is expected to continue to live in a healthy condition at birth in the European Union (EU) was estimated to be 64.2 years for women and 63.5 years for men. This represented approximately 77 % and 81 % of the total life expectancy for women and men respectively, Eurostat informs on Monday.
Life expectancy for women in the EU was, on average, 5.4 years longer than that for men in 2016. However, most of these additional years tend to be lived with activity limitation, whereas on average, men tend to spend a greater proportion of their shorter lives free from activity limitation.
The EU country with the highest number of healthy life years in 2016 for both women and men was Sweden (73.3 years for women, 73.0 for men). In contrast, Latvia had the lowest number of healthy life years for women (54.9 years) and men (52.3 years). Extreme values can partly be explained by the way in which activity limitation is measured in the country, impacting, to some extent, on the results.
The number of healthy life years at birth was higher for women than for men in 20 of the EU Member States, with the difference between the sexes generally relatively small. Within those countries there were 4 Member States where the gap was more than 3 years: Bulgaria (+3.5 years), Estonia (+4.6 years), Lithuania (+3.2 years) and Poland (+3.3 years).
However, there were also seven countries where the number of healthy life years for women was lower than for men. The largest differences were in the Netherlands (- 5.0 years), Luxembourg and Portugal (both – 2.5 years) and Finland (- 2.1 years), the Eurostat release reads.
In Romania, the number of years a person is expected to continue to live in a healthy condition at birth is 59.8 years for men and 59 years for women, below the EU average, but ahead of countries such as Finland and Austria (for men) and ahead of Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland and Austria (for women).
In seven Member States, including Romania, the number of healthy years at birth is higher for men than for women. The largest gap was in the Netherlands (5 years), Luxembourg and Portugal (2.5 years) and Finland (2.1 years).