Gender, educational and ethnic differences in active life expectancy among older Singaporeans.
AIM: The aim of the present study was to compute total life expectancy (TLE), active life expectancy (ALE) and inactive life expectancy among older Singaporeans by gender, education and ethnicity. METHODS: Data from a longitudinal survey of older Singaporeans were used. No difficulty in carrying out activities of daily living or instrumental activities of daily living was considered as "active." Transition probabilities across health states (active/inactive/dead) were assessed to develop multistate life tables, which estimated TLE, ALE and inactive life expectancy. RESULTS: At age 60 years, women, versus men, had significantly higher TLE (25.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] 24.0-27.8 vs 21.6, 95% CI 20.1-23.1), but similar ALE (18.1, 95% CI 17.0-19.2 vs 18.9, 95% CI 17.7-20.2). Those with high (secondary or higher), versus low (primary or less), education had significantly higher TLE (28.5, 95% CI 25.0-32.0 vs 22.5, 95% CI 21.1-23.9) and ALE (23.5, 95% CI 21.2-25.7 vs 17.1, 95% CI 16.1-18.0) at age 60 years. Those of Chinese, versus non-Chinese, ethnicity had significantly higher ALE at age 60 years (19.4, 95% CI 18.4-20.3 vs 15.0, 95% CI 13.4-16.7). CONCLUSION: Unlike Western nations, there was no gender difference in ALE among older adults in Singapore. However, difference in ALE by education among older Singaporeans was similar to that observed in Western societies. Policies focusing specifically on improving women's health at all ages, in addition to policies that increase population education levels, are promising approaches to improving ALE. Recognizing ethnic differences in ALE will help target policies that increase ALE in multicultural societies.
Chan, A; Malhotra, R; Matchar, DB; Ma, S; Saito, Y
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