Page last updated at 11:05 GMT, Thursday, 29 May 2008 12:05 UK

South West tops long-life table

Elderly people
People in England and Wales are becoming more likely to live to 75

People in the South West are more likely to live into their mid 70s than those living elsewhere in England and Wales, official data shows.

The Office for National Statistics compared the current likelihood of living to 75 with the early 1980s.

It found survival chances increased from 47% to 66% for men and 66% to 77% for women in England and Wales.

Survival was generally higher in the south but there were signs the gap with the north was narrowing.

The North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber all saw the largest improvements in the probability of surviving to 75 when comparing 1981-3 and 2004-6.

However, this could be because areas in the south already had more people surviving to 75 and, therefore, had less scope to improve.

Overall, in the South West men now have a 70% chance of survival to 75 compared with a 62% probability in the North East. For women, it stands at 80% and 74% respectively.

People can make healthier choices and government can put health programmes in place
Professor Alan Maryon Davis
Faculty of Public Health

On a local authority level, residents of East Dorset topped the long-life league. Women had a 86% chance of survival and men 78%.

At the other end of the spectrum, men in Manchester had only a 52% chance, while women in Blaenau Gwent in south Wales had a 67% chance.

Professor Alan Maryon Davis, president of the Faculty of Public Health, said: "It is the big north-south divide again.

"The reasons are complicated. It is really a combination of factors, lifestyle, access to health services and the environment, including employment and housing."

But Professor Maryon Davis said it was wrong to point the finger of blame because everyone had a role to play.

"People can make healthier choices and government can put health programmes in place."

And Dr Tim Crayford, of the Association of Directors of Public Health, added: "Health inequalities largely come about through differences in people's family environment, education and personal wealth.

"These affect the values people place on health and life and knowing the importance of making healthy choices.

"For example, smoking is one of the behaviours that has the biggest impact on your health and people from deprived backgrounds are more likely to smoke."

North East - Berwick-upon-Tweed 71.9%, Hartlepool 57.1%
North West - South Lakeland 72.5%, Manchester 51.7%
Yorkshire and the Humber - Hambleton 73.2%, Hull 59.2%
East Midlands - Rutland 75.5%, Corby 55.6%
West Midlands - South Shrops 72.1%, Sandwell 57.1%
East of England - South Norfolk 76%, Luton 63.3%
London - Kensington and Chelsea 74.2%, Tower Hamlets 54.4%
South East - Horsham 75.5, Portsmouth 61.5%
South West - East Dorset 78.1%, Plymouth 63.7%
Wales - Ceredigion 70.6%, Blaenau Gwent 59.6%
North East - Berwick-upon-Tweed 81.9%, Hartlepool 69.7%
North West - Eden 84.1%, Manchester 68%
Yorkshire and the Humber - Craven 82%, Hull 70.2%
East Midlands - Rutland 84.3%, Lincoln 71.1%
West Midlands - South Shropshire 82.4%, Stoke 72.1%
East of England - South Cambs 84.5%, Luton 74.3%
London - Kensington and Chelsea 85.2%, Newham 71.8%
South East - Fareham 83.1%, Thanet 74.8%
South West - East Dorset 85.5%, Bristol 75.7%
Wales - Monmouthshire 80.9%, Blaenau Gwent 67.4%

Life expectancy gap 'widening'
29 Apr 05 |  Health

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