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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12945.
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International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages

DIMENSIONS AND SOURCES

Eileen M. Crimmins, Samuel H. Preston, and Barney Cohen, Editors

Panel on Understanding Divergent Trends in Longevity in High-Income Countries

Committee on Population

Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12945.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by the National Institute on Aging’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research through Contract No. NO1-OD-4-2139, TO#194 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Any opinions, findings, conclusion, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization or agencies that provided support for the project.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

International differences in mortality at older ages : dimensions and sources / Eileen M. Crimmins, Samuel H. Preston, and Barney Cohen, editors ; Panel on Understanding Divergent Trends in Longevity in High-Income Countries, Committee on Population, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.

p. ; cm.

Includes bibliographical references.

ISBN 978-0-309-15733-9 (book) — ISBN 978-0-309-15734-6 (pdf)

1. Longevity. 2. Mortality. I. Crimmins, Eileen M. II. Preston, Samuel H. III. Cohen, Barney, 1959-IV. National Research Council (U.S.). Panel on Understanding Divergent Trends in Longevity in High-Income Countries. V. Title.

[DNLM: 1. Life Expectancy—United States. 2. Aged—United States. 3. Cross-Cultural Comparison—United States. 4. Developed Countries—United States. 5. Middle Aged—United States. 6. Mortality—United States. WT 116]

HB1531.I575 2010

304.6′4—dc22

2010037982

Additional copies of this report are available from the

National Academies Press,

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Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2010). International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources. E.M. Crimmins, S.H. Preston, and B. Cohen, Eds. Panel on Understanding Divergent Trends in Longevity in High-Income Countries. Committee on Population, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12945.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine


The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.


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The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.


www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12945.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12945.
×

PANEL ON UNDERSTANDING DIVERGENT TRENDS IN LONGEVITY IN HIGH-INCOME COUNTRIES

EILEEN M. CRIMMINS (Cochair),

Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California

SAMUEL H. PRESTON (Cochair),

Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

JAMES BANKS,

Department of Economics, University of Manchester, and Institute for Fiscal Studies, London

LISA F. BERKMAN,

Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard University School of Public Health

DANA A. GLEI,

Center for Population and Health, Georgetown University

NOREEN GOLDMAN,

Office of Population Research and Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

ALAN D. LOPEZ,

School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Australia

JOHAN P. MACKENBACH,

Department of Public Health, Erasmus University, Netherlands

MICHAEL G. MARMOT,

Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, England

DAVID MECHANIC,

Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, Rutgers University

CHRISTOPHER J.L. MURRAY,

School of Public Health, University of Washington

JAMES P. SMITH,

RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California

JACQUES VALLIN,

Institut National d’Études Démographiques, Paris, France

JAMES W. VAUPEL,

Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany

JOHN R. WILMOTH,

Department of Demography, University of California, Berkeley

BARNEY COHEN, Study Director

ROBERT POOL, Consultant

JACQUELINE R. SOVDE, Program Associate

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12945.
×

COMMITTEE ON POPULATION

LINDA J. WAITE (Chair),

Department of Sociology, University of Chicago

CHRISTINE BACHRACH,

Social Science Research Institute, Duke University and School of Behavioral and Social Sciences, University of Maryland

EILEEN M. CRIMMINS,

Department of Sociology, University of Southern California

PETER J. DONALDSON,

Population Council, New York, New York

BARBARA ENTWISLE,

Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

JOSHUA R. GOLDSTEIN,

Max Planck-Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany

CHARLES HIRSCHMAN,

Department of Sociology, University of Washington

BARTHÉLÉMY KUATE-DEFO,

Department of Demography, University of Montreal

WOLFGANG LUTZ,

World Population Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg, Austria

DUNCAN THOMAS,

Economics Department, Duke Global Health Institute, Duke University

BARBARA B. TORREY, Independent Consultant,

Washington, DC

MAXINE WEINSTEIN,

Center for Population and Health, Georgetown University

BARNEY COHEN, Director

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12945.
×

Acknowledgments

In 2008, the National Research Council (NRC) convened a multidisciplinary panel of experts to examine diverging trends that have been observed in longevity at older ages across high-income countries. This companion volume contains the detailed background papers that the panel commissioned to help its work.

We gratefully acknowledge the sponsor of this project, the Division of Behavioral and Social Research at the National Institute on Aging. Particular thanks go to Dr. Richard Suzman, whose foresight in recognizing the timeliness of this project made this work possible.

The papers in this volume have been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the NRC. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published volume as sound as possible and to ensure that the volume meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.

The Committee on Population wishes to thank the following individuals for their review of these papers: Nancy Adler, Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, and Center for Health & Community, University of California, San Francisco; Robert Anderson, Division of Vital Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; James Banks, Department of Economics, University College, London, and Institute for Fiscal Studies, London; Magali Barbieri, Institut National

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12945.
×

d’Études Démographiques, Paris, France; Lisa Berkman, Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard University School of Public Health, Harvard University; John Bongaarts, Population Council, New York; Allan Brandt, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University; Maria Danielsson, Unit for General Welfare Analysis, Department of Statistics, Monitoring and Evaluation, National Board of Health and Welfare, Stockholm, Sweden; Majid Ezzati, Department of Global Health and Population, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health; Dana Glei, Department of Demography, University of California, Berkeley; Dana Goldman, Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, University of Southern California; Mark Hayward, Population Research Center and Department of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin; Christine L. Himes, Center for Policy Research, Syracuse University; Rasmus Hoffmann, Department for Public Health, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands; Robert A. Hummer, Department of Sociology and Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin; Arun Karlamangla, Division of Geriatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles; Niels Keiding, Department of Biostatistics Institute of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Alan Lopez, School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia; Johan Mackenbach, Department of Public Health, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands; JoAnn E. Manson, Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School; Linda G. Martin, RAND Corporation, Arlington, Virginia; David Mechanic, Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Pierre-Carl Michaud, Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, California; Amos Pines, Department of Medicine ‘T’, Ichilov Medical Center, Tel-Aviv, Israel; Richard Rogers, Department of Sociology and Population Program, IBS, University of Colorado; James Smith, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, California; Jacques Vallin, Institut National d’Études Démographiques, Paris, France; and Frans Willekens, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demography Institute, The Hague.

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of any of the papers nor did they see the final version of any paper before this publication. The review of this volume was overseen by Jane Menken, Population Program, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado. Appointed by the NRC, she was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of the papers was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authors.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12945.
×

Contents

1

 

Introduction and Overview
Eileen M. Crimmins, Samuel H. Preston, and Barney Cohen

 

1

Part I:
Levels and Trends

 

 

2

 

Diverging Trends in Life Expectancy at Age 50: A Look at Causes of Death
Dana A. Glei, France Meslé, and Jacques Vallin

 

17

3

 

Are International Differences in Health Similar to International Differences in Life Expectancy?
Eileen M. Crimmins, Krista Garcia, and Jung Ki Kim

 

68

Part II:
Identifying Causal Explanations

 

 

4

 

Contribution of Smoking to International Differences in Life Expectancy
Samuel H. Preston, Dana A. Glei, and John R. Wilmoth

 

105

5

 

Divergent Patterns of Smoking Across High-Income Nations
Fred Pampel

 

132

6

 

Can Obesity Account for Cross-National Differences in Life Expectancy Trends?
Dawn E. Alley, Jennifer Lloyd, and Michelle Shardell

 

164

7

 

The Contribution of Physical Activity to Divergent Trends in Longevity
Andrew Steptoe and Anna Wikman

 

193

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2010. International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12945.
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In 1950 men and women in the United States had a combined life expectancy of 68.9 years, the 12th highest life expectancy at birth in the world. Today, life expectancy is up to 79.2 years, yet the country is now 28th on the list, behind the United Kingdom, Korea, Canada, and France, among others. The United States does have higher rates of infant mortality and violent deaths than in other developed countries, but these factors do not fully account for the country's relatively poor ranking in life expectancy.

International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages: Dimensions and Sources examines patterns in international differences in life expectancy above age 50 and assesses the evidence and arguments that have been advanced to explain the poor position of the United States relative to other countries. The papers in this deeply researched volume identify gaps in measurement, data, theory, and research design and pinpoint areas for future high-priority research in this area.

In addition to examining the differences in mortality around the world, the papers in International Differences in Mortality at Older Ages look at health factors and life-style choices commonly believed to contribute to the observed international differences in life expectancy. They also identify strategic opportunities for health-related interventions. This book offers a wide variety of disciplinary and scholarly perspectives to the study of mortality, and it offers in-depth analyses that can serve health professionals, policy makers, statisticians, and researchers.

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