Healthspan Blog

Long healthspans mean happy lives

Healthspan definition

Healthspan – the period of a person’s life during which they are generally healthy and free from serious or chronic illness, according to Macmillan (healthspan is one of Macmillan’s new words for 2005).

There’s an important difference between lifespan (how long you live) and healthspan (how long you stay healthy). For example UK government figures show that between 1981 and 1987, the life expectancy of men went up from 70.9 to 74.6. The healthy life expectancy only went up from 64.4 to 66.9.

Humans are living longer, but are they living healthier?

Examples sentences containing the word healthspan:

‘The National Service Framework for Older People is already engaged on a 10-year plan to end ageism, improve health and social care, and encourage us to modify our lifestyle now to make living longer a pleasurable experience. The lag between healthspan and lifespan is serious. None of us look forward to chronic illness.’
(The Guardian, 13th May 2002)

‘Jackson replied that “lifespans” were the demographic definition, but “healthspans” presented a complicating factor. A big unknown is the functionality of older citizens …’
(‘Moral Foundations, the Rule of Law, and the Challenge of Global Aging’, Caux Round Table Global Dialogue, 9th July 2003)