Sex differences in healthy life expectancy among nonagenarians: A multistate survival model using data from the Vitality 90+ study: A multistate survival model using data from the Vitality 90+ study

Emiel O. Hoogendijk, Maaike van der Noordt, Bregje D. Onwuteaka-Philipsen, Dorly J. H. Deeg, Martijn Huisman, Linda Enroth, Marja Jylhä

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Little is known about sex differences in healthy life expectancy among the oldest old, the fastest growing segment of the older population. This study examines sex differences in total, healthy and unhealthy life expectancy among nonagenarians. Methods: Longitudinal data of 884 older adults aged 90 and over participating in the Vitality 90+ study (Tampere, Finland) were used, including 2501 observations (health or death states) from 5 measurement waves between 2001 and 2014. Using the MSM and ELECT packages in R, multistate survival models were performed to estimate the transition probabilities of older adults through the different health states and to calculate life expectancies. The analyses were done separately for two health indicators (disability and multimorbidity) to see whether patterns were consistent. Results: Women had higher total life expectancies than men (about 8 months), but also higher unhealthy life expectancies. Men had a higher disability-free life expectancy between the age of 90 and 95 compared to women. For multimorbidity, no sex differences in healthy life expectancy were found. Conclusions: This study showed that the male-female health-survival paradox remains at very old age. Women aged 90+ live longer than men, and spend more time in poor health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-85
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental gerontology
Early online date24 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • Disability
  • Life expectancy
  • Multistate modeling
  • Nonagenarians

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