UK women have second worst life expectancy

UK women also have high death rates for diabetes. Picture: John Devlin
UK women also have high death rates for diabetes. Picture: John Devlin
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Women in the UK have the second worst life expectancy among 15 European countries, alongside high death rates from cancer and diabetes.

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) European Health Report 2015 found life expectancy for UK women born in 2011 stood at 82.7 years, with only women in Denmark expecting a shorter life.

Men in the UK can expect to live as long as their European peers.

Women in countries including, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Greece can all expect to live longer than British women.

The study also found premature deaths from heart disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases were higher among men and women in the UK than in several countries, including Switzerland, Spain, Norway, Malta, Italy, Finland, France and Cyprus.

The UK also had significantly higher rates of people being overweight (63.4 per cent) and obese (28.1 per cent), compared with a European average of 56.9 per cent and 22.7 per cent.

Death rates among men aged 30 to 44 were above the European average, while rates among women aged 30 to 74 were “high” and above average.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “It is deeply concerning that the UK is lagging behind almost all of the most developed nations in Europe. Women in the areas with the highest life expectancy live almost seven years longer than those with the lowest.

“Healthy behaviours, whatever your age, and effective care and support can help people have longer, healthier lives than ever before.”

Among men, deaths from four major diseases were decreasing and in line with 15 member countries of Europe, the report said.

But for women, deaths from the four (cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and diseases of the digestive system) were above the European average.