Bulgarians, especially women, match or better the European Union average expectation for a healthy life, according to EU statistics released on March 5 2013.
However, the expectations among the EU’s 27 member states vary greatly, from 71 in Malta to 52 in Slovakia.
“The indicator of healthy life years measures the number of years that a person of a specific age is expected to live without any severe or moderate health problems, which means that the respondent can maintain their usual activities,” EU statistics agency Eurostat said in an explanatory note.
Across the 27 member states of the EU, both women and men could expect at birth to live 62 years in a healthy condition, and nine additional years at the age of 65, Eurostat said.
For Bulgarian women, the expectation at birth was 65.9 years (EU average 62.2 years); at 50, 20.3 years (EU average 17.9 years); and at 65, 9.7 years (EU average 8.6 years).
Bulgarian men started above the EU average but those in older age groups matched in. According to Eurostat, the figures are, for Bulgarian men, 62.1 years at birth (EU average 61.8 years); at 50, 17.5 years and at 65, 8.6 years – in the latter two cases, the same as the EU average.
Both men and women in Sweden and Malta could expect to live more than 70 years in good health, Eurostat said.
Among EU member states, the highest number of healthy life years at birth in 2011 was estimated for both women and men in Malta (71 years for women and 70 years for men), Sweden (70 and 71 years), Luxembourg, Greece and Ireland2 (all 67 and 66 years), and the lowest in Slovakia (52 years for both) and Slovenia (54 years for both).
In most EU countries, there was very little difference in the number of years women and men can expect to live without health limitations. In 2011, the biggest differences were found in Lithuania (five more healthy life years for women) and in the Netherlands (five more healthy life years for men).
At the age of 50, both women and men were expected to have more than 20 additional healthy life years in Sweden (26 years for women and 25 for men), Malta (23 years for both), Denmark (22 years for both), Luxembourg, Ireland and the United Kingdom (all 22 and 21 years). The lowest additional healthy life years were estimated for women and men in Slovakia (10 years for both).
At the age of 65, healthy life years were highest in Sweden (15 additional years for women and 14 for men) and lowest in Slovakia (three and four years).
(Photo: Lech Karol Pawłaszek)