Health Policy

14.11.19

Possible drop in life expectancy due to social inequality according to The Health Foundation

The Health Foundation have released a report today (14 Nov) looking at mortality rates in the UK. The data, based on research carried out by the London School of Economics, shows that the UK is at risk of suffering a fall in life expectancy if social inequality is not addressed.

As a result of the report, Mortality and life expectancy trends in the UK, The Health Foundation is urging the government to set up a new independent body to monitor and scrutinise government policy and work on protecting healthy life expectancy for everyone.

Evidence included in the report finds that women from the most deprived areas are now expected to live 7.5 years less than those from the least deprived areas in the UK.

The female life expectancy in the UK is one of the lowest among comparable countries, more than three years behind Spain and over life expectancy is now two years behind Spain, France and Italy.

It also shows a pattern of stagnation in life expectancy improvements in the UK and that avoidable deaths such as accidental poisoning, alcohol consumption and suicide are the leading causes of death among UK adults aged 20-49.

Since 2011, inequalities in life expectancy between the richest and poorest have widened, with people in wealthier areas of the UK living longer and those in the most deprived areas experiencing a stalling of life expectancy figures or in some cases, reversing.  

The independent body, suggested by the Health Foundation, will be established to track and analyse mortality trends and provide expert advice on how to improve it for future generations.

Jo Bibby, Director of Health at the Health Foundation, commented:

These research findings demonstrate just how important it is that we closely monitor life expectancy and mortality trends, particularly for the most vulnerable people in society. Mortality data is complex and we need an independent view on not only how long people are living for but also why they are dying. This needs to be a priority for the incoming government, so that its findings can start influencing local and national policies as soon as possible.”

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