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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 July, 2003, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
British men outlive many in Europe
England football supporter
British men live on average until they are 76
The British male now lives longer than men in most other western European countries, according to a report.

Figures from the European Men's Health Forum show the average life expectancy of British men has jumped over the past 20 years.

In 1980, average male life expectancy was just 70 years of age. Today, it is 76 years.

The increase has seen Britain fly up the European league table for male life expectancy from 10th in 1980 to 5th now.

It is one of the sharpest increases of any European country.

Health improvements

The improvement is being linked to a reduction in the number of men developing heart disease and lung cancer, as more men give up smoking.

However, the report shows that British men still lag behind many in Europe when it comes to a long life.

Top five countries
1. Sweden
2. Switzerland
3. Italy
4. Norway
5. UK

Men in Sweden, Switzerland, Italy and Norway generally live longer.

Swedish men enjoy Europe's highest life expectancy rate of 77.5 years. Men in Ireland have the shortest lives at just 73 years on average.

The report examined the state of men's health in 17 western European countries.

It found that while men in all of these countries are living longer they are still lagging far behind women.

Men are still struggling to achieve life expectancy rates expected of women more than 20 years ago.

The researchers said: "Men's life expectancy will continue to increase at a faster rate than women."

But they added: "Life expectancy for men in 20 years time will still be less than that of women currently and is only just reaching the figures for women in the 1980s."

'More vulnerable'

Researchers said the findings appeared to confirm theories that men are simply more vulnerable to disease than women.

Their figures show that men are much more likely to die from potentially fatal diseases like cancer, heart disease and suicide or accidents throughout most of their lives.

In addition, men are much more likely to die prematurely, which also serves to drive down average life expectancy rates.

The researchers said the findings highlighted the need for specific public health policies targeted at men.

They said a one-size fits all approach was no longer working.

Alan White, who led researcher, said: "We know that men die younger than women but the realisation that half the male population will be dead before the age of 75 brings home the realisation that this is a much larger problem than first thought."

He added: "We need to open the debate and engage in more discussion and research into the reasons why men are so much more likely to suffer a premature death."

Men 'set to outlive women'
23 Jun 03  |  Health
Masculine men 'are healthier'
23 Apr 03  |  Health


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