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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 September 2006, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Scottish life expectancy improves
Pregnant woman
The prospects for long life are improving in Scotland
People in Scotland are living longer but the gap between rich and poor is widening, official figures have shown.

The average Scottish man can expect to live to just over 74 and the average woman will reach about 79.

Glasgow's average was lowest, with 70 for men and 76 for women. The highest average was 77 for East Dunbartonshire men and 81 for women from Orkney.

The lifespan gap between rich and poor increased by about a month from last year, to 7.8 years.

Registrar General for Scotland Duncan Macniven said: "While it is encouraging that life expectancy at birth across Scotland is increasing, there are still large differences between areas."

Slow change

While some areas saw only tiny increases in life expectancy over the 10-year period, nowhere saw a decrease.

The biggest rise in life expectancy for men was in Shetland, which was up 5.9%.

For women it was Argyll and Bute, where life expectancy went up by 3.5% over the 10-year period.

The smallest rise over that period was 0.1% for men in West Dunbartonshire and 0.9% for women in East Ayrshire.

There is a real general health crisis in Glasgow
Bill Aitken
Conservative MSP

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said: "We welcome the fact that life expectancy for Scotland's council and health board areas is improving but this is not happening fast enough.

"The main problem is persistent health inequality across Scotland and improving everyone's health while tackling these inequalities is the main aim of our health improvement policies."

She added that health inequalities in deprived areas were being targeted and plans had already been announced for five pilot projects in areas where people were at greatest risk of disease.

Glasgow Conservative MSP Bill Aitken accused the executive of complacency and called the figures "Scotland's shame".

He said: "There is a real general health crisis in Glasgow and it is the consequence of a mixture of executive failures - failure in education, in housing, in levels of incapacity benefit and, of course, in improving the general diet."


SEE ALSO
Glasgow's bad health 'inherited'
09 May 06 |  Glasgow and West
Glasgow faces death rate problem
18 Apr 06 |  Scotland
City lifespan gap increases
12 Mar 04 |  Scotland
Health figures make grim reading
12 Mar 04 |  Scotland
Poorer Scottish men 'die younger'
07 Mar 04 |  Scotland

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