"While people might be expected to live more years with disease simply as a function of living longer in general, the researchers [Gerontologists at USC] show that the average number of healthy years has decreased since 1998. We spend fewer years of our lives without disease, even though we live longer.
A male 20-year-old in 1998 could expect to live another 45 years without at least one of the leading causes of death: cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes. That number fell to 43.8 years in 2006, the loss of more than a year. For young women, expected years of life without serious disease fell from 49.2 years to 48 years over the last decade.
At the same time, the number of people who report lack of mobility has grown, starting with young adults. Functional mobility was defined as the ability to walk up 10 steps, walk a quarter mile, stand or sit for two hours and stand, bend or kneel without using special equipment.
A male 20-year-old today can expect to spend 5.8 years over the rest of his life without basic mobility, compared to 3.8 years a decade ago — an additional two years unable to walk up 10 steps or sit for two hours. A female 20-year-old can expect 9.8 years without mobility, compared to 7.3 years a decade ago.
'There is substantial evidence that we have done little to date to eliminate or delay disease while we have prevented death from diseases,' Crimmins explained. 'At the same time, there have been substantial increases in the incidences of certain chronic diseases, specifically, diabetes.'"
Entire Report: http://uscnews.usc.edu/health/despite_longer_life_spans_fewer_years_are_free_of_disease.html