There is an urgent need for strategies that alleviate the societal consequences of population ageing. A possible strategy is aiming for compression of morbidity. Some of the initial conditions for a compression of morbidity have been invalidated. The life expectancy has shown a much stronger increase than was expected and the modal age at death has exceeded the age of 85. Trend studies have found no consistent evidence for a compression of morbidity. At the department of Public Health, we aim at identifying entry-points for a compression. For example, an analysis was performed on potential contributions of changes in exposure to life style factors (smoking, hypertension, physical inactivity and overweight/obesity) to compression of cardiovascular disease, using multi-state life tables with data from the Framingham Heart Study. It was shown that smoking and physical inactivity increased the incidence of cardiovascular disease, as well as mortality with and without cardiovascular disease. Hypertension and overweight mainly increased the incidence of cardiovascular disease. Interventions on the latter risk factors will therefore increase the life expectancy, but will also result in a compression of morbidity. For policymakers and researchers it is important to find a mix of interventions that lead to a comparable overall effect.

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Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Klijs, B., Nusselder, W., & Mackenbach, J. (2009). Compressie van morbiditeit: een veelbelovende benadering om de maatschappelijke consequenties van vergrijzing te verlichten?. Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie, 1–21. Retrieved from