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 Time Spent in Good Health Rising

higher proportion of life spent in good health

A recent study suggests that the proportion of life spent in good health in England is on the rise, despite life expectancy also increasing.

In the study, two identical surveys carried out 20 years apart were compared. The surveys were carried out in 1991 and 2011 and involved more than 15,000 responses from those aged 65 or older in Cambridge, Newcastle and Nottingham.

The research, which was funded in part by the Medical Research Council, was published in The Lancet and used three measurements of good health; self-perceived health, time free from cognitive impairments (dementia), and life without disability.

Results showed that in 2011, men spent nearly four more years, and women about three more years, in self-perceived good health in comparison with the participants of the 1991 survey.

Furthermore, in terms of gaining years without disability, men gained 2.6 years and women gained six months on average. However, while severe disability became less common, milder disability figures increased. Experts suggest that these milder disability figures could be due to rising rates of obesity and arthritis.

The research also showed that people are living more years without cognitive impairment despite the number of cases of dementia rising due to the ageing population.

In response to the research Caroline Abrahams of Age UK said, "Real improvements in older peoples' health are a real cause for celebration and demonstrate the continuing importance of supporting people to age well, especially through the provision of good quality health and social care services."

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