What is the relationship between quality of life and life expectancy?

Life expectancy measures how long a person can expect to live. Quality of life can be measured in terms of living conditions, physical health, mental health, social relationships, level of independence, economic security or basic human rights. The McKinsey Health Institute is a lasting, non-profit global entity within McKinsey that strives to catalyze actions across continents, sectors and communities to extend and improve lives. MHI is committed to contributing to this collective ecosystem.

MHI fosters a strong network of organizations committed to this aspiration through a variety of types of collaboration: it brings together and trains leaders, promotes research, creates and promotes open access data assets, and stimulates innovation. MHI shares resources, innovations, data and findings in the public domain so that others can replicate what is effective and expects its ecosystem partners to commit to the same. The average life expectancy in the world almost doubled during the 20th century, while the rate of aging did not change at all, leading to more age-related diseases, disabilities and dementia. The factors that affect quality of life in general vary depending on people's lifestyles and personal preferences.

To take advantage of up to 45 billion years of higher quality life, people need to be empowered as the primary guardians of their own health and that of their loved ones. The main problem with simply increasing life expectancy is that morbidity also increases simply because people live long enough to get more diseases, disabilities, dementia, and age-related dysfunctions. The impacts of climate change would disproportionately affect the health of vulnerable populations and people in low- and middle-income countries (PMIC), which would likely exacerbate existing inequalities. However, as I argue here, there are medical, economic, ethical and political reasons to favor medical research that aims to increase the quality of life rather than the quantity of life.

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, provides an excellent list of factors that can be considered when evaluating quality of life. In the past, there has been some debate about whether morbidity would increase in the future or would decrease as average life expectancy increased. Moral theory, in turn, may be based on theology, human rights, tradition, emotion, duty or virtue, but it is not clear how this applies to the extension of life or to the relative advantages of extending quantity versus quality of life. Understanding these specific relationships could help identify which particular groups are most at risk and make it possible to target interventions specifically at these individuals.

Life expectancy is currently increasing more rapidly than healthy life expectancy (average number of years lived in good health), so morbidity (average number of years lived in poor health) is slowly expanding in the EU. Prospective change in health-related quality of life and subsequent mortality among middle-aged and older women. If the additional years are not lived in full health, for example, if the patient loses a limb or becomes blind, the additional years of life will be assigned a value between 0 and 1.There are several segments of the American population that may have a lower quality of life compared to others.

Christine Febles
Christine Febles

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