People in France are living longer in good health, study finds

The data shows an improvement when compared to the same report in 2008

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People aged 65 and over in France have on average 11 to 13 years of good health left, a newly published study has found.

Men are also staying healthy almost as long as women, the report from a department of the health ministry said. It shows that, using data from 2021, women can on average hope to live to age 77.6 years of age without any major health issues and men to 76.6.

This represents an improvement when compared to the same study carried out in 2008. Women have since gained 2.7 years of good health (the previous study put the age at 74.9) and men have gained 2.8 years (73.8).

Compared to the European average, people in France can also expect to live eight months longer in good health on average after age 65, and for women specifically this improves to one year, eight months.

In France, life expectancy has steadily increased but not all of these additional years of life are necessarily lived in 'good health'. This is why, since 2018, a report has been published to show another indicator - the disability-free life expectancy, which corresponds to the number of years a person can expect to live without being limited in the activities of daily living.

Benoît Ourliac, deputy director of the Observation de Santé, and the Assurance maladie, said that the improvement shown in the new statistics could be due to the improved treatment of long-term illnesses. It could also be due to progress with medicines and the ongoing drop in the consumption of tobacco and alcohol.

‘Good health’ is defined as “not suffering from any need [that requires help], no incapacity, such as sight, hearing, or general mobility. You must also not suffer from any chronic, disabling illness”, said journalist Jean-Christophe Batteria reporting on the study for France Télévisions.

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