Britons dying younger than those in other rich countries, experts say

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People living in other wealthy nations enjoy longer lives than most Britons, say experts. When the late Queen came to the throne in 1952, the UK ranked seventh for life expectancy. By 2021, we had fallen to 29th. In that time, average UK life expectancy rose from 69.5 to 80.7 years, according to United Nations data.

However, other G7 developed countries made more progress, except the US, which fell from 13th to 53rd.

Experts blame a widening gulf between the rich and poor.

They write in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine: “Income inequalities rose greatly in the UK during and after the 1980s and that rise also saw an increase in the variation in life expectancy of different social groups.”

The authors, from Oxford University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, added: “One reason why the overall increase in life expectancy has been so sluggish is that it has fallen recently for poorer groups, falling slightly overall between 2014 and 2018.”

They quote the OECD saying the UK is the second most unequal country in Europe after Bulgaria.

However, our life expectancy ranking has increased slightly since 2020, when we slumped to 36th place.

The researchers said this could be thanks to the quick rollout of Covid vaccines. However, they warned there was “no room for complacency” given the cost-of-living crisis.

Dr Lucinda Hiam, of Oxford, said: “A relative worsening of population health is evidence that all is not well.

“This analysis suggests the problems the UK faces are deep-seated and raises serious questions.”

Average UK life expectancy was 79 for males and 83 for females between 2018-22, the Office for National Statistics said.

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