Health expectancy is a population-based measure of the proportion of expected life span estimated to be healthful and fulfilling, or free of illness, disease and disability according to social norms and perceptions and professional standards.
Reference: new definition
Health expectancy belongs to a new generation or type of health indicator which are currently being developed. These indicators are intended to create measures which are more sensitive to the dynamics of health and determinants. Health expectancy indicators combine information from life expectancy tables and health surveys of populations. They need to be based on life expectancy at country level or a similar geographic area.
Examples of health expectancy indicators currently in use are disability free life years (DFLY) and quality adjusted life years (QALY). They focus primarily on the extent to which individuals experience a life span free of disability, disorders and/or chronic disease. Health promotion seeks to expand the understanding of health expectancy beyond the absence of disease, disorder and disability towards positive measures of health creation, maintenance and protection, emphasizing a healthy life span.