Gap in life expectancy must be cut

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St Helens residents can look forward to longer, healthier lives but will still lag behind wealthier areas of the country, new research suggests.

Life expectancy in the borough is set to rise steadily until 2030, with the average resident born in the town able to look forward to celebrating at least their 80th birthday before 2020.

Life expectancy is currently 79.34 years, and this is expected to go up to 81.05 years by 2020, to 82.84 years by 2025 and 84.59 years by 2030.

However, the bad news is that life expectancy rises will still trail under the average for England and Wales, where by 2030 life expectancy will be over 85 years and women will be able to look forward to living until almost 90.

St Helens Council also warned there were considerable differences in life 
expectancy between the borough’s areas, with a 10-year difference for men and a seven-year gap for women.

The local authority said this showed more work still needs to be done to ensure all residents have access to the same health opportunities.

Director of public health Liz Gaulton said: “We want to help all people in the borough to live longer.

“Therefore it is important that all people, particularly those in middle to old age, need to continue to look after their health, by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and stopping smoking, so that they increase the chances of living longer and having a healthier later life.”

The figures were based on figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) combined with mathematical models and published in leading medical journal The Lancet.

The research shows the historic gender gap in life expectancy is set to close, with men forecast to live just two years less than women by 2030.

St Helens Council said life expectancy in the borough had risen more than three years since 2001 and men in the town could now look forward to the longest lives anywhere in Merseyside.

Nationally, life expectancy for women is expected to rise from 83.3 years in 2012 to 87.6 years in 2030, with a predicted increase for men from 79.5 years to 85.7 years over the same time period.

However, the gap between the wealthiest areas and poorest regions is not expected to narrow, with affluent people living in southern England able to look forward to a life more than eight years longer than their compatriots in hard-up northern urban centres and South Wales.