Understanding the gap between females and males in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy in Cuba

Madelín Gómez León, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED)
Esther María León Díaz, Oficina Nacional de Estadisticas, Cuba

In this paper we will analyze the so called male-female health-survival paradox, or in other words, the study of a longer but less healthy survival of women in a particular developing country such as Cuba who has a life expectancy of 79.0 years old in women and 75.1 years old for men in 2007. This country is in an advanced stage of aging (17% of its population was over the age of 60 in 2008 and 31% is expected by 2030) and has a declining population (since 2006 is decreasing at a rate of 0.4 per thousand inhabitants). Trends in life expectancy and in the specific causes of death and its differentials by sex will be observed in order to shed light on the lower sex gap that Cuba shows compared to other countries with similar levels of life expectancy. Moreover, healthy life expectancy in older people is also treated looking at the morbidity in later life. Vital statistics data in yearly basis published by National Statistic Office and Public Health Ministry of Cuba will be used. In order to analyze the disability and prevalence of diseases we have worked with the Health, Wellbeing and Aging Survey (SABE) carried out by the Pan American Health Organization, during 1999–2000. In this survey 1.905 individuals aged 60 and older were interviewed in Ciudad de La Habana, which is the second most aged province in Cuba (19.2% of people older than 60 years old).

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Presented in Session 63: Gender and health

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