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UK Women Among Worst In World For Life Expectancy Rises

ELLE (UK) logo ELLE (UK) 10/08/2018 Katie O'Malley

Blue eye of beautiful woman. © Guido Mieth - Getty Images Blue eye of beautiful woman. You know how you were planning on taking that gap year aged 50 and weren't too bothered about investing in that pension because you're going to live to 110? After all, time is on your side, right?

Well, you might want to reconsider your life plans as Britain’s improvement in life expectancy has slowed at the fastest rate compared to 20 of the world's leading economies.

According to newly published figures from the Office for National Statistics, rises in life expectancy dropped from 12.9 weeks per year for women from 2006 to 2011 to 1.2 weeks per year from 2011 to 2016.

Related: Giving Birth May Shorten Life Expectancy, Study Finds (Provided by Buzz60)

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The increase in life expectancy for women was the lowest of the 20 nations, while for men only the US was worse.

As of 2016, a female baby born in the UK would on average be expected to live until 82.9, while a boy would be predicted to live until 79.2.

Sir Steve Webb, former Liberal Democrat pensions minister and director of policy at the insurance provider Royal London, told the BBC: 'The UK has slumped from being one of the strongest performers when it comes to improving life expectancy to bottom of the league.

'There is a real human cost behind these statistics and we urgently need to understand more about why this is happening.'

It's hard to explain why the UK is performing so poorly when it comes to life expectancy (alcohol use is falling, there are fewer smokers than ever in England etc), yet it's widely believed austerity might be to blame.

a person sitting in a bedroom: Patient sitting on hospital bed waiting © Portra Images - Getty Images Patient sitting on hospital bed waiting Prof Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the BBC: 'Our previous research has provided some pointers, suggesting the need to look in more detail at some consequences of austerity.'

This is something the Guardian's Owen Jones has alluded to, writing: 'For decades, life expectancy steadily rose in Britain: and then, suddenly, just as the Tories took power and imposed austerity, this improvement ground to a halt.'

According to a report in the British Medical Journal last year, austerity has also been linked to a staggering 120,000 extra deaths since 2010. As a result, Jones says this suggests impact of austerity may lead to 100 early deaths every single day in the coming years.

What's more shocking is that until the financial crash in 2008, Britain’s suicide rate had been falling. However, experts believe there could have been an extra 1,000 deaths from suicide and an additional 30 to 40,000 attempts since.

While it's not totally to blame, you'd be forgiven for thinking austerity is playing a major role in the UK's poor life expectancy increase.

Related: 20 diseases women need to watch out for (Provided by Espresso)


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