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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mortality and morbidity trends: Is there compression of morbidity?

  • Author(s): Crimmins, EM
  • Beltrán-Sánchez, H
  • 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. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved.

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