An examination of the association between premature mortality and life expectancy among men in Europe.
de Sousa, Bruno
de Visser, Richard
Madsen, Svend Aage
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Background: A feature of the health of men across Europe is their higher rates of premature mortality and shorter life expectancy at birth than women. Following the publication of the first State of Men’s Health in Europe report, we sought to explore possible reasons. Method: We analyzed trends in life expectancy at birth in 19 European Union member states (EU19) between 1999 and 2008 using mortality data obtained from Eurostat. We then used Pollard’s decomposition method to identify the contribution of deaths from different causes and at different age groups to differences in life expectancy. Results: Between 1999 and 2008, life expectancy at birth in the EU19 increased by 2.74 years for men and by 2.09 years for women. Most of these improvements were due to reductions in mortality at ages >60, with cardiovascular disease accounting for approximately half these improvements for men. In 2008, life expectancy of men in the EU19 was 5.92 years lower than that of women. Deaths from all major groups of causes, and at all ages, contributed to this gap, with external causes contributing 0.96 years, cardiovascular disease 1.80 years and neoplasms 1.61 years. Conclusion: Improvements in the life expectancy at birth of men and women have mostly occurred at older ages. There has been little improvement in the high rate of premature death in younger men, suggesting a need for interventions to tackle their high death rate.
- Health Sciences ITC 
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