Quality-Adjusted Life Expectancy (QALE) is a summary measure of mortality and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) across different stages of life. This study developed a method to calculate state-level QALE for U.S. adults.
Population HRQOL data came from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Using age-specific deaths from the Mortality Summary File, this study constructed life tables to estimate life expectancy and QALE for all 50 States and the District of Columbia by sex and race from 1993 through 2008.
From 1993 to 2008, the QALE of an U.S. adult at 18 years old had increased from 51.2 to 52.3 years. In 2006, states with the highest QALE were Hawaii (56.2), Minnesota (55.2), North Dakota (54.9), Iowa (54.7), and Nebraska (54.4), while the states with the lowest QALE were West Virginia (47.1), Mississippi (48.2), Alabama (48.5), Kentucky (48.5), and Oklahoma (49.0).
Because population HRQOL values and mortality statistics are available from existing and publicly accessible data and because formulas for the calculation of QALE and its standard error are easy to incorporate in a spreadsheet, State and local Health Departments can calculate QALE as a routine surveillance measurement for tracking their population’s health over time.