Malaysians live longer, not necessarily healthier: KRI

by NUR HANANI AZMAN/ FILE PIX

Malaysians are now living longer with a male and female newborn in 2020 can expect to live to the age of 72.6 and 77.6 years, respectively, about 11 years longer compared to newborns in 1970.

The increase in life expectancy seen in Malaysia is largely the result of decreases in child and maternal mortality, according to the Khazanah Research Institute’s (KRI) latest publication – Social Inequalities and Health in Malaysia.

However, the report states that life expectancy alone is not an adequate measure of population health.

“Many Malaysians experience debilitating health conditions such as heart diseases, back pain and mental ill health, especially in their later years.

“Thus, discussions on health must be expanded beyond the length of years lived to how much of those years are lived in good health,” the report read.

To account for years lived in illness and disability, the report uses the healthy life expectancy (HALE) indicator, which is the average number of years a person can expect to live in good health.

An average person’s healthy life expectancy in 2019 was 65.5 years.

This means that although a baby born in 2019 could expect to live up to 75.0 years, 9.5 of those years would be spent in poor health.