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Regional differences in healthy life expectancy in the Netherlands.

Groenewegen, P.P., Westert, G.P., Boshuizen, H.C. Regional differences in healthy life expectancy in the Netherlands. Public Health: 2003, 117(6), 424-429
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Background. Healthy life expectancy has mainly been studied at the level of healthcare systems rather than at regional level within healthcare systems. In this article, healthy life expectancy at birth and at 65 years of age for men and women in the Netherlands has been described, and factors related to these regional variations have been explored. Methods. Ecological study of 27 healthcare regions (hospital catchment areas). Life expectancy and healthy life expectancy were calculated using 1995 mortality data and pooled health interview survey data (1992-1997) from Statistics Netherlands.Results. Healthy life expectancy shows a regional pattern, slightly different from that found in life expectancy and self-reported health. The regional distribution of male and female healthy life expectancy is different, especially at 65 years. Healthy life expectancy of women aged 65 years is independent of their total life expectancy. Social conditions and lifestyle differences between regions are negatively associated with healthy life expectancy in Dutch regions. Healthcare supply variables show no clear relationship.Conclusion. Although the Netherlands is a small, homogeneous country, substantial differences were found in healthy life expectancy. (aut.ref.)