UK women have second worst life expectancy on European list


Women in the UK have the second worst life expectancy among 15 European countries, alongside high death rates from cancer and diabetes, according to a report.

The World Health Organisation's (WHO) European Health Report 2015 found life expectancy for UK women born in 2011 stood at 82.7 years, with only women in Denmark expecting a shorter life.

Men in the UK can expect to live as long as their European peers.

Women in countries including, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Greece can all expect to live longer than British women.

The study also found premature deaths from heart disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases were higher among men and women in the UK than in several countries, including Switzerland, Spain, Norway, Malta, Italy, Finland, France and Cyprus.

The UK also had significantly higher rates of people being overweight (63.4%) and obese (28.1%), compared with a European average of 56.9% and 22.7%.

Death rates among men aged 30 to 44 were above the European average, while rates among women aged 30 to 74 were "high" and above average.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: "It is deeply concerning that the UK is lagging behind almost all of the most developed nations in Europe in terms of average life expectancy for women.

"Even within England, women in the areas with the highest life expectancy live almost seven years longer than those with the lowest.

"Healthy behaviours, whatever your age, and effective care and support can help people have longer, healthier lives than ever before."

Among men, deaths from four major diseases were decreasing and in line with 15 member countries of Europe, the report said..

These countries are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

But for women, deaths from the same four diseases (cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and diseases of the digestive system) were high and above the European average.

The report said levels of alcohol consumption, tobacco use and the numbers of people who are overweight or obese, which are among the major risk factors for early death, "remain alarmingly high" across Europe.

It said: "The European region has the highest levels of alcohol consumption and tobacco use in the world, and ranks only slightly behind the region of the Americas - the WHO region with the highest prevalence - in rates of overweight and obesity."