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People in deprived areas 'face 16 extra years in poor health'

Published 20/11/2015

Research has showed differing levels of healthy life expectancy across London
Research has showed differing levels of healthy life expectancy across London

People living in the poorest parts of England can expect more than an extra decade of poor health compared to those in the richest, new figures show.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed the number of years people can expect to live in good health is now 63.5 years for men and 64.8 years for women across England.

But there is wide variation depending on where people live, with poorer people faring worse.

The level of inequality between those living in the most and least deprived parts of England was 16.7 years for men and 16.8 years for women.

Men who live in the richest parts of Kensington and Chelsea can expect almost a quarter of a century (24.6 years) more of good health than their male counterparts in the most deprived part of the borough, the figures for 2009 to 2013 showed.

For women, the difference was 21.2 years.

Middlesbrough had low healthy life expectancy for both men (58.6 years) and women (60.1) and high levels of inequality between the most and least deprived areas - 21 years for men and 20 for women.

The London borough of Newham had the lowest level of health inequality within it for men, at 3.8 years.

Meanwhile, Wokingham, in Berkshire, had the highest healthy life expectancy for men (70 years) and the second highest healthy life expectancy for women (70.8 years) as well as a relatively low level of health inequality - 7.1 years between its most and least deprived areas for both men and women.

The local authorities in England with the widest inequalities in life expectancy, healthy life expectancy and disability-free life expectancy were mostly in the North West, North East, Yorkshire and the Humber and some parts of inner London.

Between 2009 to 2013, life expectancy at birth in England for men was 79.1 years, but the level of inequality in life expectancy between the most and least deprived parts of England was 7.9 years.

Life expectancy for females was 83 years, with a two year level of inequality between the richest and poorest regions.

Janet Morrison, chief executive of Independent Age, said: "It is just staggering that while men in some parts of Kensington & Chelsea on average enjoy 80 years of good health, men in parts of Salford can only expect good health until just after their 46th birthday.

"The reality in the poorest areas is that many people are not even entering retirement in good health, let alone living comfortably through their retirement years.

"It is absolutely vital that the Chancellor uses the spending review to invest in health and social care to ensure growing numbers of older people - many of whom will be experiencing poor health - get the care and support they need."

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