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Big variation in life expectancyBabies born in Scotland have the average lowest life expectancy in the UK, latest figures show. The Office for National Statistics figures for 2006-08 show males in Scotland can expect to live to 75 years, and females to 79.9 years. In contrast, males in the south-east of England have the highest life expectancy, at 79.2 years, with females in the South West top at 83.1 years.Life expectancy has improved in all areas between 1991-93 and 2006-08. The biggest improvements were in London, which had increases of 4.9 years for males and 3.4 years for females. The smallest increases were in Scotland for males (3.5 years) and in Wales for females (2.4 years).In the same period the gap between male and female life expectancy at birth narrowed in the UK - from 5.4 years in 1991-93 to 4.2 years in 2006-08. In 2006-08 the widest gaps between males and females were in Northern Ireland and Scotland (4.9 years).Across the UK, the average life expectancy at birth for males in 2006-08 was 77.4 years, up four years on 1991-93. For females the UK average was 81.6 years, up 2.8 years on 1991-93. In 2006-08, average life expectancy at age 65 for the UK was 17.4 years for males, up 3.2 years from 1991-93. For females it rose by 2.1 years to 20 years.Locally, Kensington and Chelsea recorded the highest average life expectancy at birth - 84.3 years for males and 88.9 years for females. Glasgow City was the area which recorded the lowest average life expectancy at birth - 70.7 years for men and 77.2 years for women.Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, said: "It's good to see life expectancy increasing across the UK - and that men are steadily catching up. But the north/south divide remains and seems to be largely linked with deprivation. To close that gap we must keep improving the way our most disadvantaged communities live, learn, work and play - all of which profoundly affect health."
In the United Kingdom mortality greatly increases in winter. This is apparent at all ages but is greatest in relative and absolute terms in elderly people.
Of course there's also the effect that there are more deprived areas in the north, especially where formerly industrial areas have undergone economic collapse, and poverty has a strong effect on life expectancy, see the recent furore around the differences in life expectancy in different regions of Glasgow.. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/7584450.stm
Glasgow's High Mortality Rates Are Not Explained by Deprivation AloneScienceDaily (June 25, 2010)New research, published by Elsevier in the Royal Society for Public Health's journal Public Health, provides compelling evidence that deprivation alone cannot explain the poor health experienced by Glasgow's residents.Although the link between deprivation and health is well established, work by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH), along with University of Glasgow, NHS Manchester and Liverpool PCT suggests that other additional factors may be responsible for the high levels of mortality and poor health experienced in this Scottish city.The study compared three major UK cities -- Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester -- which share a number of characteristics including higher levels of poverty and poor health. Despite their similarities, and the fact that the socio-economic profiles of the populations living in all three cities are almost identical, premature deaths in Glasgow are more than 30% higher than in the other cities and this 'excess' mortality is seen across the population i.e. in different age groups (except children), for both males and females, and across those living in deprived and non-deprived neighborhoods.For premature mortality, rates tended to be higher for the more deprived areas, especially among males and around a half of 'excess' deaths in people aged under 65 were directly related to alcohol and drugs.The study findings suggest that while income deprivation is an important determinant of health, its impact is affected by context. Deprivation as currently measured does not explain the higher levels of mortality experienced in Glasgow. Additional explanations need to be found and steps taken to change the current trends and remove the so called 'Glasgow Effect'.David Walsh, from the GCPH and lead author of the report, said, "Although deprivation is an extremely important determinant of poor health, in this case it does not appear to explain why mortality rates are so much higher in Glasgow than in Liverpool and Manchester. A number of hypotheses have been suggested which we hope to be able to examine in detail in a second phase of research."Carol Tannahill, Director of the Glasgow Centre for Population Health added, "Improving the population's health is a major priority for the city of Glasgow. Developing deeper insights into the causes of the city's long-playing record of ill-health is an essential step towards turning that record around. Health in this part of the country has not always been worse than comparable regions and cities -- it's a phenomenon of the late 20th century -- and our aim is to try to understand how Glasgow can become a healthier city again in the future."The Editors of Public Health have commissioned a series of open, peer-commentaries by leading experts to explore the hypotheses set out by the authors more fully. These will be published in subsequent issues of the journal to promote ongoing debate.