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British life expectancy has soared

18th March 2011

Life expectancy is continuing to rise across the UK despite the obesity epidemic.


Figures show that a child born in the western world today can expect to live between six and eight years longer than a baby born in 1970.

In addition, British people are outliving their American counterparts, despite the US having a higher national income and the highest spending on healthcare.

Despite the risks associated with obesity – where rates in adults in the UK have risen from 7% in 1980 to 23% today - life expectancy is increasing in almost all European countries for the first time in decades.

The figures are published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Commenting on them, Professor David Leon, an expert on population health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “There is a tendency for people to talk about things going wrong. But it is important the public are made aware that, so far, things are going right.”

The UK has seen a decline in smoking since 1970 and heart disease deaths are falling faster than in any other western European country.

But Professor Leon stressed that quality of life was just as important and warned that diabetes – which affects people’s sight and circulation - was rising.

He said: “It may be that we are holding off the fatal consequences of diabetes with better treatment.

“But there are huge consequences in terms of the burden on the health service – patients have to take a lot of pills and face a lot of complications.”


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Article Information

Title: British life expectancy has soared
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 17920
Date Added: 18th Mar 2011


The Independent

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