Healthy life expectancy increases where healthcare investment is highest

The life expectancy in good health from 50 years of age increases in the autonomous communities that invest the most in public health spending per capita, with differences of up to more than six years between the autonomous communities that invest the most and those that invest the least.

This is what emerges from a study published today by the Center for Demographic Studies in the. Autonomous University of Barcelona (CED-UAB). and that points out that the community that has a life expectancy in good health higher are La Rioja, Baleares and Catalonia (men) and Navarra, Catalonia and Aragon (women), while at the bottom are Murcia, Castilla la Mancha and the Canary Islands (men) and the Canary Islands, Murcia and Galicia (women).

According to the study, published in the journal ‘Demographic Perspectives, a public expenditure of 800 euros more per person in health between 2006 and 2019 translated into 1.5 more years of life expectancy. in good health for men and by 1.2 years for women.

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The work has analyzed the socioeconomic and health factors behind the differences between autonomous communities in life expectancy without and with disease in those over 50 years of age from 2006 to 2019.

Six surveys

Data are from. six surveys national and European health surveys (2006, 2009, 2012, 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2019) and mortality data provided by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), together with socioeconomic indicators, data on public health expenditure, services and human resources in health, and information on individual health-related behaviors between 2006 and 2019.

The conclusion is that the uneven growth of the life expectancy in good and poor health at age 50 reflects the change in public health spending in the autonomous regions in such a way that. the more public health spending per capita. is made, the longer the years lived without illness and the shorter the years lived with illness.

To calculate the Life expectancy without and with chronic diseases or conditions, demographers considered the most prevalent health conditions, including hypertension, chronic back pain, diabetes, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, stroke, myocardial infarction, and heart disease.

Indicators analyzed.

Several indicators analyzed showed a significant relationship with years lived with or without illness, including GDP per capita, the unemployment rate among persons over 55 years of age, the percentage of the population with primary education or less, public health expenditure per capita, public hospital expenditure per capita, public primary care expenditure per capita, the number of specialist doctors per thousand inhabitants, and the number of specialist nurses per thousand inhabitants.

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“However, when all of the following are taken into account. regional factors at the same time, public health spending is the variable that most explains regional differences in life expectancy in good and poor health. for both men and women,” according to the researchers.

The study concludes that the evolution of life expectancy in good and poor health and regional heterogeneity respond to fluctuations in public health spending since 2006, marked by the cuts it underwent between 2009 and 2014.

Although the reduction in spending occurred throughout Spain, there were important differences between regions.

“Health management at a regional level has an impact on the disease prevalence and prevention. of middle-aged and elderly people is not negligible, which should be taken into account when designing public policies that seek to reduce the burden of disease in the population. Spending on health, in case anyone doubted it, turns out to be a healthy investment,” have summarized Elisenda Rentería y Pilar Zueras, researchers at CED-UAB and the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex (ISER-Essex) and authors of the study.

“Communities with the longest life expectancies are not always those that show the most years of life in good health. For example, the community with the highest life expectancy at age 50 in 2019 among men is. Madrid (with 33.5 years), is in seventh place in the ranking of years of life lived in good health (with 12.2 years),” the authors of the study point out.

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