Health Span Inequalities: A Global Challenge Unearthed by a New Global Prevention-Focused Index

This is one image taken from the IOC healthy aging and prevention index which shows the difference in health span between the top bloc of Scandinavia with the African nation bloc showing a 13.8 year difference in healthy lifespan.

The International Longevity Centre UK (ILC) has just launched the Healthy Ageing and Prevention Index, an online tool that is reshaping our understanding of global longevity and health. This novel index ranks 121 countries across six holistic metrics: life span, health span, work span, income, environmental performance and happiness.

Large inequalities in health span between nine different political and economic blocs

The lens of the index reveals a captivating narrative — the stark nearly 14-year difference in health span across nine different political and economic blocs (see image). For those of us who live and breathe the world of well-being, health span is not some vague concept, but the period of life spent in good health — a measure of the quality, not merely the length of our lives. Imagine living in the shadow of a chronic disease such as Alzheimer’s or a heart condition for 14 years.

The authors, Arunima Himawan and Les Mayhew drive home a message that resonates deeply with my ethos — the power of prevention. As a strong advocate for physical activity, I firmly believe in its potential to transform health span and mitigate the risk of lifestyle diseases.

Please do look at this new index (I will leave a link to the new global index in the comments) and see how your country is performing both globally and in its relevant bloc.

Are you surprised by where your country sits on the index? How might we reduce this health span gap and what role can physical activity play?