Globe, Telegram report on UMMS quality-of-life research

By Lisa M. Larson

UMass Medical School Communications

September 13, 2013

Study: Americans living longer, healthier lives

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at UMass Medical School have found that Americans are not only living longer lives, but are enjoying a better quality of life in those added years. Synthesizing data from multiple government-sponsored health surveys conducted over the last 21 years, Allison Rosen, MD, associate professor of quantitative health sciences, and colleagues at the National Bureau of Economic Research and Harvard University were able, for the first time, to measure how the quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE) of all Americans has changed over time. Read more about this groundbreaking study.

The Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette interviewed Allison Rosen, MD, associate professor of quantitative health sciences, on her new study in the American Journal of Public Health documenting quality of life in age expectancy.

“It’s incredibly important to know whether people are not just living longer but living better,” Dr. Rosen told the Globe. “We’d like to know whether health care dollars spent on treating heart attacks or managing depression could increase not only the length of life but also the quality of life.” 

In the first-of-its-kind study, Rosen and colleagues found that the average 25-year-old American today can look forward to 2.4 more years of a healthy life than 20 years ago, while a 65-year-old today has gained 1.7 years.

Susan Stewart, researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research; and David Cutler, professor of economics at Harvard University, worked with Rosen on the paper.

Read the full stories:
Boston Globe: Americans are living better, longer
Telegram & Gazette: UMass Medical, Harvard researchers track healthier — not just longer — lives