Variations in life expectancy in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries – 1985–2010

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Aim: We examined the impact of different behavioral factors of health on the variations in the levels and rate of increase in life expectancy in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries between 1985 and 2010. Methods: Using the World Health Organization's conceptual framework of socio-economic determinants of health, we incorporated Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Bank and United Nations data to estimate the impact of these variables on life expectancy for 30 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. We used a random effect model to control the fixed effect of year and each country. Results: Results show that the level of health care spending is the most important factor predicting life expectancy. Other important factors are gross domestic product per capita, labor productivity, years of schooling and percentage of gross domestic product spending allocated for public services. Life expectancy was reduced by smoking and higher daily calorie consumption. Countries that were previously part of the Soviet Union had lower life expectancies. Political factors had only a minor impact on life expectancy. Conclusions: Life expectancy increased an average of 5.1 years in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries between 1985 and 2010, but there was wide variation. Health spending per capita, economic factors and two behavioral factors – smoking and caloric intake – explained most of the variation and suggest where increased policy attention could have the greatest impact on life expectancy. Policymakers who consider our estimates recognize that they may see greater or less impact depending on the characteristics of their nation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)786-795
Number of pages10
JournalScandinavian journal of public health
Volume43
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2015

Keywords

  • Life expectancy
  • alcohol consumption
  • labor productivity
  • medical care spending
  • obesity
  • smoking
  • social spending

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Variations in life expectancy in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries – 1985–2010'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this