What is a healthspan?

Healthspan is the length of time that a person lives in good health. It is not the same as lifespan, which is the total length of time that a person lives. While many people live long lives, their health may not always be good, and they may experience chronic diseases or other conditions that affect their quality of life. Healthspan is an increasingly important concept in the field of health and aging, as people are living longer but often not necessarily healthier lives.


While it is unlikely that everyone will agree on a single definition, a common definition is that health expectancy is the period of life spent in good health, free from the chronic diseases and disabilities of aging. Modern medicine has increased life expectancy: in the last 100 years, global life expectancy has more than doubled. However, this has not necessarily been accompanied by an equivalent increase in healthy life expectancy. People are living longer, but many of those years are plagued by chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.

This is where it's important to understand the difference between life expectancy and health. Life expectancy is the total number of years we live, while health expectancy is how many of those years we remain healthy and free of disease. In fact, having a long life is the same as having a long life. In other words, the length of life is simply how long you live.

However, the definition of health expectancy is how many years of health you live. So you may live a long life and live to be 100 years old, but if you spend 50 of those years heavily affected by a chronic illness, your health period would only amount to 50 years.

Christine Febles
Christine Febles

Extreme thinker. Infuriatingly humble tv guru. Incurable coffee ninja. Award-winning pop cultureaholic. Evil zombie fan. Freelance social media geek.