Actually, living longer is an excellent proxy for general health. But, if you want others, we can talk about infant mortality, maternal mortality, QALYs, DALYs, perinatal health, child health, sexual health, mental health etc. In general, health has improved over the last 20-odd years on any metric you care to measure it, aside from one: chronic disease. But this is in large part due to the fact that people get more chronic disease when they live longer and we are all living longer.

I think it’s probably fair to say that your average person is healthier now than at any point in human history. We have huge problems — I work in diabetes, which is only getting worse — but these days people can die of diabetes only because they aren’t dying at 30 from cholera or childbirth.

Epidemiologist. Writer. Podcaster. Twitter FB Email