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Inequalities Still Evident Despite Life Expectancy Rise

September 15, 2015
Public Health

health costResearch by Public Health England based on the most recent Global Burden of Diseases Injuries and Risk Factors report has found that there is still an eight-year life expectancy gap between England’s richest and poorest regions.

The findings, which are published in the Lancet, show an overall increase in life expectancy in England of 5.4 years since 1990. There are still big differences between regions of the country, with the wealthiest 20% of men in the east of England living to 83.9 years compared to a figure of 74.9 years for men in the north-west.

The gap is produced by a number of factors, as Professor John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, explained: “Healthy life expectancy powerfully reflects our social environment: having a living wage, living in decent housing and eating healthy food,” he told the Guardian. “The shocking regional variations in healthy life expectancy dramatically demonstrate how these powerful factors that affect our health are controlled by national and local governments, rather than being a simple matter of individual choice.”

The prevention and more effective treatment of heart disease, strokes and cancer are put forward as some of the reasons for the general increase in life expectancy. Rates of illness and disability are still high, meaning that people are spending more years in ill health than they did in 1990. Based on the latest figures, PHE estimate that lifestyle activities including poor diet, smoking and alcohol consumption are likely to be responsible for up to 40% of all cases of ill health.

You can read the full report HERE