Life - Articles - Stagnating life expectancy figures bucks previous trend

Commenting on the life expectancy figures published by Public Health England, Steven Baxter, Head of Longevity Innovation and Research, Club Vita, says

 “Stagnating life expectancy in some parts of the country as revealed today is in line with trends we’ve been seeing in our Club Vita longevity analysis. Looking at the UK as a whole, four out of the last five years have bucked the prevailing trend for strong improvements, and this latest figure adds to the debate as to whether we have entered a new era of sustained lower or indeed no improvements.

 “But, this isn’t the whole picture. While the nation has seen a slow-down in life expectancy over recent years our analysis has shown that men in the higher income ‘comfortable’ socio economic groups are, in contrast, maintaining a consistently rising life-expectancy. There has been a divergence in longevity expectations between these groups and the lower socio-economic groups, with longevity improving twice as fast for the ‘comfortable’ group. At a societal level it is concerning to see a halt in the narrowing of the longevity gap amongst different parts of society that we had seen previously.

 “It is impossible to say definitively what is causing this disparity. It could be due to one off events such as the flu vaccine provide less protection against recent flu strains, or especially harsh winters. It could be the impact of austerity measures making life a bit harder for those who don’t have as easy access to support networks, or alternative resources to buffer them from changes in the social care system. It could also be that we are in that transition period as the benefits of smoking cessation have largely run their course and we await the impacts of other health interventions to work their way through. In reality it is probably caused by a combination of all of these types of elements. What is certain, though, is that the ‘comfortable’ group are proving to be more resilient.”

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