Determinants of educational inequalities in disability-free life expectancy between ages 35 and 80 in Europe

  • Jose R. Rubio-Valverde Jose R. Rubio-Valverde
  • Bjørn Heine Strand Bjørn Heine Strand
  • Enrique Regidor Enrique Regidor
  • Henrik Brønnum-Hansen Henrik Brønnum-Hansen
  • Johan Mackenbach Johan Mackenbach
  • Katalin Kovács Katalin Kovács
  • Mall Leinsalu Mall Leinsalu
  • Matthias Bopp Matthias Bopp
  • Patrick Deboosere Patrick Deboosere
  • Pekka Martikainen Pekka Martikainen
  • Ramune Kalediene Ramune Kalediene
  • Wilma Nusselder Wilma Nusselder

Socioeconomic inequalities in disability-free life expectancy (DFLE) exist across all European countries, yet the driving determinants of these differences are not completely known. We calculated the impact on educational inequalities in DFLE of equalizing the distribution of eight risk factors for mortality and disability using register-based mortality data and survey data from 15 European countries for individuals between 35 and 80 years old. From the selected risk factors, the ones that contribute the most to the educational inequalities in DFLE are low income, high body-weight, smoking (for men), and manual occupation of the father. Potentially large reductions in inequalities can be achieved in Eastern European countries, where educational inequalities in DFLE are also the largest.

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