UK & World News
Death Rate: Britain Lagging On Life Expectancy
Britons are more likely to die early than people in most wealthy nations, research suggests - and experts are warning the gap is widening.
A study has found the UK is now 14th out of 19 Western countries for life expectancy.
In 1990, Britain ranked tenth in a league table - with Alzheimer's disease, cirrhosis of the liver and drug use disorders being blamed for our falling position.
The research was published as Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt prepares to address a "shocking underperformance" that is costing 30,000 lives every year.
Co-authored by Public Health England, the Global Burden of Disease Study, published in the Lancet journal, looks at the state of health in the 15 original members of the EU along with Canada, Australia, Norway and the US.
The report compares death rates, disease and health risks in 1990 and in 2010.
In these 20 years, life expectancy has increased in the UK - by an average of 4.2 years to 79.9 years - but it has failed to keep pace with other nations.
While we are living longer, we are experiencing longer periods of ill health and disability.
The UK is now below average compared with 18 other countries on many important indicators.
The biggest risk to health in the UK is tobacco, which accounts for 12% of the disease burden, followed very closely by high blood pressure and high body mass and then physical inactivity, alcohol and poor diet.
As a result, early death rates have not reduced among 20 to 54-year-olds for 20 years.
There have been improvements in many cancer treatments and in road safety, but there has been an increase in alcohol-related and drug-use deaths.
Among all age groups, drug disorders have risen nearly six-fold.
Co-author Professor Kevin Fenton said the report was a "wake-up call and an opportunity".
He said: "While it's encouraging that overall the health of the UK has improved substantially since the last report the pace of improvement is not enough."
Across all ages, the top eight diseases causing the most years of life lost in the UK remain largely the same as those reported in 1990.
In order, these are heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lower respiratory infections, colorectal cancer, breast cancer and self-harm.
Prof Fenton said there needed to be more focus on prevention as well as "high quality and accountable" clinical care.
The Health Secretary has previously pledged to cut the number of avoidable deaths from cancer, heart disease, strokes, respiratory and liver disease.
He now wants more people to be trained to use defibrillators and conduct CPR, while relatives of people who have died from cardiac conditions will get tests to see whether they too are at risk.
Mr Hunt said: "Despite real progress in cutting deaths we remain a poor relative to our global cousins on many measures of health, something I want to change.
"For too long we have been lagging behind and I want the reformed health system to take up this challenge and turn this shocking under-performance around."
Co-author Professor John Newton, chief knowledge officer at Public Health England, said: "We should be proud that life expectancy in the UK has increased as much as it has since 1990, but we need to make sure that these extra years are healthy ones."
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what do you think?
Old age is the deadliest killer of them all.
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Do i see another tobacco and booze tax hike. Ok so we get one every year, especially from Osbourne, but when they publish stats such as these , you know there's a big one coming. If they are serious about keeping people healthy, regulate the food industry, properly. Tons of salt and fat in "off the shelf" foods, is causing a lot of deaths. They can't increase the tax on that so easily, so they go for an easy target. This is just about the gov making more cash.
Did you get that you worthless peasants ? Stop enjoying life and live longer ! The Lib/Lab/Cons need your votes.
Could it be anything to do with the amount of people living here?? By 2050 there will be 80+ million living here standing room only by all accounts,that's gonna be great for everyones health.
I don't think so. Japan has the same density of population problem and the Japanese are generally healthier.
Should we be enjoying ourselves in our 40's/50's/60's etc or should we abstain from everything and live those extra few years being fed through a tube in a nursing home just so we can get higher in the league table.Who knows? we can't see the future and know how each individual will be in their 90's.We can only get guidance from our parents ages,enjoy ourselves but moderately,and hopefully live to a ripe old age fully compos mentis.My mum is 93 I hope its hereditary !!
I don't think you need to live iin misery to be healthy, Bob. You can live a healthy lifestyle without abstaining, although admittedly it helps to abstain from cigarettes - but I never really found smokng enjoyable anyway when I used to do it. I always remember sitting for a couple of hours on the terrace of a cafe in Nice for a couple of hours with my wife and not seeing a single overweight person walk past during that time - it's all down to the Mediterranian diet which I found very enjoyable and which certainly didn't exclude red wine. Even exercise can be enjoyable - it doesn't have to be hard graft.
I quite agree with you Mick and I don't abstain but enjoy life.I quit smoking in 2011 and have a healthy diet--no processed stuff for me thank you.Pity we don't have the mediterranean climate as well
Stop migration AMD the English will live longer. Close the borders. It's all down to diet and weather
We need to go back to eating traditional English food too, like lasagna and chilli con carni.
hector also more things like olive oil, salad and fresh ingredients we r all trapped inside out houses in this country, no free activities Mediterranean countries cause of the weather people go for a walk after dinner sit outside play backgammon chess etc more access to swimming pools and cycling etc
And the Tories are putting up the retirement age to 70 eventually.
Britain one of the shortest life span in Europe .Prime Minister David Cameron`s answer increase the retirement age to 70 years.French people are up in arms as their Government wants to increase it from 60 years to 62 years. Again we are getting it up the backside.
It isn't specifically or solely the "answer" of David Cameron, happy mike - he's part of a Coalition Government. It was also the answer of the previous government. It's also increasingly the answer of other European governments because increased longevity means we have proportionally an increased population of older people to support and old people are expensive to support. As life expectancy goes up, so will the retirement age. You can still retire early if you've been able to make financial provision - you just won't get the state pension so early. It's not a political issue and shouldn't be made in to one.
It IS a political issue when workers are forced onto minimum wages, bosses wages out stripping inflation high greedy rental properties . The trouble is no strong trade unions to protect the peoples interests. As for people living longer this is a myth. The young today can never save for retirement because their being ripped off. The money is there to take care of today's pensioners but the Governments divert it to wars.
What I meant was that the so-called "demographic timebomb" is the reason the state pension age is being extended. Nothing to do with party politics.. State pension comes out of National Insurance contributions and, as such, is ring-fenced from the defence / offence budget. The only way you can affect the timing and amount of the state pension is to adjust NI contributions. What makes you think that increased longevity is a myth? Research done by governments and universities across Europe supports the info in the above article.
I believe British people are, for the large part, unhappy with their lot in life and that this has a detrimental effect on our health. Why? Because we are continually taxed into poverty and are always struggling no matter how hard we try. Every penny we have is targeted by the Government and we are not allowed to keep enough to actually enjoy our time on this earth. It's always all about work and tax, work and tax and jam tomorrow. Is it any wonder the number of Britons leaving our shores in search of a better life in another country is going through the roof?
Totally agree with your comment word for word. Then the final insult when you've worked and saved all your life is inheritance tax which currently stands at £325,000. It should be for millionaires only
Many people in this country will think £325.000 is a millionaires sum. Spend it Rob no pockets in a stroud.
"I believe British people are, for the large part, unhappy with their lot in life". Having lived and worked abroad, British people don't seem to be more unhappy than other Europeans - for example, the suicide rate is much higher in many other Eurooean countries than it is here.. They perhaps have less motivation to keep fit by doing outdoor activities because of the weather and they eat more junk food than their European counterparts. We also invest less in our health service as a proportion of GDP. By the way, the tax burden in the UK is no heavier than it is in, say, France and Germany. Interestingy, the poorest 30% of our population pay less tax than their French and German equivalents.
In agreement with you, there have been past governments who have made our lives a misery.Having said that,my mother will be 101 this month.What she has told me is that every government has has told lies and the worst has beeb Labour.
Mick, why in every response, do you insist on repeating part of the dialogue from the original comment ? Is it an unsuccessful attempt to ridicule the original post in order to enhance your view, or are you a teacher ?
Mick, you should read again the very first sentence in the Orange article.
"Mick, why in every response, do you insist on repeating part of the dialogue from the original comment ?" It's for neither of your suggested reasons, Stewgwyn. It's merely to clarify which post and which specific part of the post I'm making a comment about. I'm not sure how the first sentence is relevant to the point I made, Brian?