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Factors Contributing to Low Health Expectancy and its Solutions

Apart from life expectancy, health expectancy is yet another important concept gaining popularity in the medical field. Both the concepts are useful in explaining the quality and quantity of the life of a person. For this, life expectancy is largely about the quantity of life a particular person will most likely to live, while the concept of health expectancy is about the quality of life the person can enjoy while living. In general, health expectancy can be defined as the percentage of a person life expectancy that will be spent in good health (Small Woods, 2010). In this article, we will discuss the various factors that can affect health expectancy, and suggest some possible solutions to increase the health expectancy for the benefits of people.

Many factors can contribute to low health expectancy of human beings. First of all, it is often argued that health expectancy of someone is related to gender. Generally speaking, it is well known that women have higher life expectancy than men. However, research indicates that women however, have lower health expectancy than men. This is because generally speaking, women can live longer – but most women are found to be able to live healthily to the age of 65, as compared to the men average age of 68.2 (Small Woods, 2010). Thus, mathematically speaking, women have lower health expectancy than men.

Apart from that, health expectancy is also found to be related to the educational level of a particular person. According to Nusselder and Looman (2004), it is commented that highly educated groups have been shown to live longer and spend less time with disability than the groups with less education. That means those highly educated persons are expected to have longer life expectancy and health expectancy.

Apart from that, it is also found that health expectancy does have strong correlation to the income level of the people as well. According to Kwon (2003), it is asserted that the group with higher income does have higher health expectancy. The rationale is that as people become richer, they can more readily spend financial resources in taking care of their health, and they have more money to consult doctors or health advisors in order to stay healthy always. In contrast, poor people may face pressure and problems in accumulating sufficient financial resources to take care of their own health as compared to the rich people (Marmot, 2002).

Interestingly, health expectancy also has strong relationships with the variables such as nationalities, races and culture. There are many possible reasons for such a phenomenon. However, one of the possible explanations is due to the lifestyle of the people (Bragg, 1999). For example, people in Western culture tend to favor fast food and red meat, while people from the Eastern tend to have a more balance diet, and they take more vegetables in their daily life. As such, it is then not surprising that people from the Western countries tend to have lower health expectancy, as the food they consume is generally causing them to become easily suffer from various diseases (Reed, Foley, White, & Heimovitz, 1998).

As we have already discussed the various factors that may lead to lower health expectancy, then it is now possible for us to suggest or formulate several solutions to enhance the health expectancy of the people. Firstly, as it is found that educational level does make some differences in health expectancy of the people, then it is important to enhance the knowledge of the people about the subject matter. This is because as people become more health conscious, they may be able to take relevant actions to enhance their health level. Secondly, as it is also found that poorer people tend to suffer from lower health expectancy, then government or charitable society may have some roles to play. Some of the free medical related program provided by the government should be enhanced, so that the poorer people can obtain relevant treatment even they do not have the financial resources to do so. For example, by subsidizing free medical treatments to the poor people, the people life expectancy can be increased.

Apart from that, people need to be informed on the issue that their living habits or lifestyle has great influence against their health expectancy. For example, people should be advised not to engage in activities that can lower health expectancy, such as smoking, consuming too much fast food, excessive drinking, or taking insufficient vegetables or fruits that are important for their health. When people has the proper understandings and are aware of how their lifestyle may affect their health in the later years, they can then structure their life in better ways. By living or cultivating healthy lifestyle, it is possible for the people to increase their health expectancy (Reed, Foley, White, & Heimovitz, 1998).

Not only that, medical related research is yet another fruitful area to be focused on in order to enhance the health expectancy of human beings. For example, new bio-medical technology breakthrough can greatly enhance the health expectancy of human beings – as evidenced by the increasing health expectancy of the society in the recent years, even though people has been engaging in lifestyle and behaviors detrimental to their health.

In conclusion, apart from life expectancy, health expectancy is another crucial concept not to be neglected by people, as it determines or indicates the quality of life of a person. It is human desires to stay healthy when they live, so that they can enjoy the live properly. In the article above, we have also discussed the various factors that can cause lower health expectancy among the people. Based on these findings, we have also suggested some potential beneficial suggestions to enhance the health expectancy level of the people. To do so, it is important that people, including the government agencies, the public as well as those involve in medical industry, to cooperate to enhance the living standards of the society.


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Nusselder, W. J., & Looman, C. W. N., (2004). DECOMPOSITION OF DIFFERENCES IN HEALTH EXPECTANCY BY CAUSE*. Demography, 41(2), 315-34.

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