Lifestyles and Their Influence on Health and Life Expectancy
Many courses of disease that lead to death can be influenced by personal lifestyles. ‘Unhealthy’ behaviours impede successful, active aging. Based on a number of survey waves, informational gaps can be closed with regard to further increasing life expectancy and the growing percentage of older people.
Over the course of recent decades, chronic diseases, cardiovascular diseases and malignant neoplasms have gained increased significance as causes of death. As recent analyses show, many of these ailments are influenced by personal behaviours, living arrangements and environmental conditions and therefore are also frequently ‘avoidable’. Unhealthy behaviours also impede successful, active aging. To examine the present life situation and a change in living circumstances with their impacts on earlier, present and anticipated health, in 1998 I+G Gesundheitsforschung conducted a survey designed as a follow-up survey to the National Health Surveys held in Western Germany in 1984/86 and in Eastern Germany in 1991/92. The crucial elements of the new questionnaires with regard to the object of investigation were a retrospective ascertainment of events that occurred between the two survey times, which were chronologically very far apart, and a detailed ascertainment of the familial situation. To this end, the survey went beyond purely medical questions. The results, which illuminate various aspects in the correlation between health and life expectancy, are portrayed in Volume 36 of the Series on Population Studies of the BiB and in issues 102 a to f of Materialien zur Bevölkerungswissenschaft and diverse articles.
The data of the Life Expectancy Survey can be accessed at GESIS under the study number ZA6765.