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Last Updated: Sunday, 7 March, 2004, 15:06 GMT
Poorer Scottish men 'die younger'
Old men, one in wheelchair
The Scottish average for men's life expectancy is 73
Men living in Scotland's most deprived areas can expect to die up to 10 years earlier than their average countrymen.

Life expectancy for men has increased by two years in the last decade apart for those in poverty hit places like Springburn and Shettleston in Glasgow.

The Scottish Executive has described the growing health gap as "very concerning" and warned there would be no "quick fixes" to the problem.

NHS figures reveal that on average men in Scotland live to the age of 73.

Shorter lives

But in Springburn the average life expectancy of men is 66, while those living in Shettleston can expect to die at just 63-years-old.

The executive said it was committed to tackling the country's health problems.

We have to create the circumstances in which people make the right choice for themselves, and the right choice for their families, when it comes to health
Scottish Executive spokesman
A spokesman said: "Overall health is improving in Scotland.

"However, the health gap between our most affluent and most deprived communities is very concerning which is why tackling health inequalities is at the heart of the executive's health improvement agenda."

He said the NHS profiles on life expectancy would be an important source of health information for organisations at all levels to tackle health, poverty and social exclusion.

The spokesman added: "There will be no quick fixes. This will require long-term concerted action across the executive working with its partners.

"We have to create the circumstances in which people make the right choice for themselves, and the right choice for their families, when it comes to health."

Women fare better

The profiles also show how life expectancy for women in Scotland has increased, up 2.4% over the period from 1991-2001 to 78.7 years.

And they reveal women living in deprived areas do not fare as badly as men.

Although it is still three years lower than the national average, the life expectancy for women in Shettleston has increased almost two years to 75.

The profiles also show fewer people are dying from heart disease and cancer than they were 10 years ago.

They will be launched by deputy health minister Tom McCabe in Paisley next Friday.

Scottish Socialist Party national convener Tommy Sheridan used the figures to attack the executive's work on tackling poverty.

He said: "The fact that life expectancy is falling is further proof that current policies aimed at tackling poverty and the diet of our children are not working

"The executive must now face the fact that radical measures are needed to deal with the terrible problem of Scotland's health."

Cloud-cuckoo land

Scottish National Party leader John Swinney added the figures were a "national scandal" and accused the government of being out of touch with

life in Scotland.

He said: "If you listen to Ministers you would believe Scotland is forging ahead.

"They live in a Holyrood cloud-cuckoo land where everything is rosy.

"They should try life in Shettleston, then they would discover the reality for thousands of Scots.

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