Defining and measuring healthspan. Or should we be calling it sickspan?

There’s a dark symmetry to what’s happening in this time of COVID when it comes to life expectancy. The global numbers are, no surprise, falling after several years of stall and splutter. The last time they fell so much was 100 years ago, after the Spanish flu killed 20 to 50 million people.

The extent of decline this time isn’t knowable yet but the consensus is COVID will significantly cut into the current global average of 72 years, 8 months. The numbers now are much higher in the rich global north – an average 79 in the US, 82 in the UK.

For all but the life extension radicals, the focus has shifted to healthspan – how long we live in good health – without the chronic diseases of lifestyle, genetic bad luck, and general physiological wear and tear.

On this episode of The Big Middle, what’s happening with healthspan?

This is the terrain of my learned guest Dr Rupert Dunbar-Rees, the founder and CEO of Outcomes Based Healthcare, which he’ll tell us all about.


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