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Development and Sex-Disparity in Health Adjusted Life Expectancy in the European Population

Population ageing, the result of lower fertility rates and increasing life expectancy, is a global phenomenon and considered to be one of the greatest challenges of this century.

Europe is the region in the world that has the largest share of older adults. Therefore, there is a great focus on addressing the health- and socioeconomic challenges associated with population ageing in the European Union and across European countries. The health of the ageing population is a significant factor in assessing the extent of these challenges. A key issue in the research field of Ageing has been the question of whether the increase in life expectancy is associated with an increase in healthy years of life (The Compression of Morbidity Theory) or an increase in unhealthy years of life (The Expansion of Morbidity Theory).

Knowledge of the trend in health adjusted life expectancy in Europe is at this point limited. So far, research has mostly been based on subnational populations, and comparison across studies is problematic due to methodological differences.

Aim and Material

The aim of the project is to estimate the development in health adjusted life expectancy in the European Population using data collected from several European countries over 11 years (2004-2015) in SHARE (Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe).

A special emphasis will be put on sex-disparity, as much research has found that even though women live longer than men, they have fewer healthy years (The Male-Female Health-Survival Paradox).

Since data collected through surveys may be associated with selection- and information-bias, the project will also make use of register data from the Danish National Patient Registry (DNPR) to estimate health adjusted life expectancy in the Danish population.


  • Velux Foundation, NIH, Fellowship 


PhD Student

Camilla Riis Nielsen



Research area



Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe

data material

EBB - Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Biodemography Department of Public Health University of Southern Denmark

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Last Updated 20.10.2023