THE LIFE expectancy gap between those born in the richest and poorest parts of England has widened, new figures show.
Girls born in wealthy areas can expect to live to 86.2 but those in deprived parts only to 78.7 – a difference of 7.5 years.
This gap increased by half a year between 2012/14 and 2015/17 as those in poor areas saw their life expectancy fall by 98 days.
This compares with an increase of 84 days over the same period for girls born in rich districts.
Boys born in wealthy areas can now expect to live to 83.3 and those in deprived areas 74 – a difference of almost a decade.
This gap has increased by around a third of a year, data from the Office for National Statistics show.
Experts say people born in poor areas are more likely to smoke, live in substandard housing and less likely to afford healthy food and gym memberships.
Boys born in wealthy areas in 2015/17 are expected to spend 19.1 more years in good health than those in poor areas.
The figure for girls is 18.8 years.
Tim Elwell-Sutton, from the Health Foundation think tank, said the figures revealed a “staggering level of variation”.
He added: “The government has committed to ensuring that people can enjoy at least five extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035, while narrowing the gap between the experience of the richest and poorest.
“The ONS data shows we are not yet on course to achieve this.
“To reduce these stark inequalities, cross-government action and investment is needed on the wider determinants that influence our health.
“And we’ve seen major cuts in recent years to prevention services such as stopping smoking services, sexual health and drug and alcohol treatment.”
Ben Humberstone, from the ONS, said: “We’ve found a large fall in life expectancy at birth among women living in the most deprived areas in England.
“This is in contrast to the continued increases in life expectancy for women living in the least deprived areas.
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“This has led to a significant widening in the inequality in life expectancy at birth in England.
“Our wider analysis of mortality shows that life expectancy in the UK has stopped improving at the rate that was expected before 2011.
“We will be carrying out further work to analyse the factors contributing to this trend, including the impact of deprivation.”