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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mortality and morbidity trends: is there compression of morbidity?

  • Author(s): Crimmins, Eileen M
  • Beltrán-Sánchez, Hiram
  • et al.

OBJECTIVE:This paper reviews trends in mortality and morbidity to evaluate whether there has been a compression of morbidity. METHODS:Review of recent research and analysis of recent data for the United States relating mortality change to the length of life without 1 of 4 major diseases or loss of mobility functioning. RESULTS:Mortality declines have slowed down in the United States in recent years, especially for women. The prevalence of disease has increased. Age-specific prevalence of a number of risk factors representing physiological status has stayed relatively constant; where risks decline, increased usage of effective drugs is responsible. Mobility functioning has deteriorated. Length of life with disease and mobility functioning loss has increased between 1998 and 2008. DISCUSSION:Empirical findings do not support recent compression of morbidity when morbidity is defined as major disease and mobility functioning loss.

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