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Richest live longer in good health

Children in the poorest areas of England can expect to live nearly 20 fewer years in good health than those in the richest parts of the country, official figures have shown.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said boys in the most deprived areas could expect to live 52.2 years in good health, compared with 70.5 years in the least deprived areas.

Meanwhile, girls in the poorest communities could expect to live 52.4 years in good health, compared with 71.3 years in the richest parts of the country.

A more accurate measure, which looked at every area of England and not just the most and least deprived, found girls in richer communities could expect to live 19.5 years longer in good health than those in poorer parts, while for boys the difference was 19.1 years.

The ONS, which looked at inequality in healthy life expectancy at birth from 2011 to 2013, said boys could expect to live nine fewer years in the most deprived parts of England than in the least deprived areas.

Life expectancy for girls in the poorest areas was 6.9 years shorter than in the least deprived areas, the ONS said.

Boys in the most deprived parts of England could expect to spend 70.5% of their lives in good health, compared with 84.9% in the richest areas.

Girls could expect to spend 66.2% of their lives in good health in the most deprived areas, compared with 82.9% in the least deprived parts.

Javed Khan, chief executive of children's charity Barnardo's, said: " The health gulf between England's haves and have nots is a terrible indictment of the failure to address inequalities in our society over many years.

"The costs of growing up in poverty are now clear. Millions of children will pay for it with a curtailed life.

"These figures are evidence that successive government policies are extracting a terrible poverty toll on childhood - damaging their health, education, social mobility and life chances.

"Reducing the life expectancy gap between the richest and poorest children needs to be a priority issue for politicians of all parties. Unless more resources are injected into deprived areas, children born there are more likely to face a short and impoverished life."

Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said: " The statistics lay bare what poverty and deprivation does to children here in the UK - i t damages their health and shortens lives.

"Politicians of all parties need to act. We urgently need a roadmap for tackling poverty, with clear actions, milestones and progress measures that would set child poverty on a downward trend.

"Without that, the terrible health risks will go on and the £29 billion annual cost of child poverty will rise."

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