Life expectancy at record high

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Life expectancy for older people living in the country is at a record high, a new study by Public Health England (PHE) has revealed.

The study has found men can now expect to live for a further 19 years at age 65, 12 years at 75, 6 years at 85 and 3 years at age 95.

Women can expect to live for a further 21 years at aged 65, 13 years at 75, 7 years at 85, and 3 years at age 95.

However, there is variation in the figures for regions and local authorities.

In all but one region of the country male and female life expectancy at the of age 65 increased between 2013 and 2014 and was at its highest in 2014.

The exception is the North East, where male life expectancy was highest in 2013.

The majority of local authorities have shown an increase or no change in life expectancy at age 65, however one quarter showed a decrease.

Professor John Newton, chief knowledge officer at Public Health England said: “Overall the report presents a positive picture nationally and life expectancy is the highest it’s been since we started measuring.

“People in England are living longer than ever and that makes achieving a good quality of life in later years even more important.

“Our current evidence shows that people are living longer but many are doing so in poor health. This report is an opportunity to remind people that, even during mid-life, it is not too late to improve your health.

“Most of us could make changes today, like stopping smoking, being more active or eating better, that would allow us to look forward to healthier later years.

“The reasons for the variation in trend between local areas are not yet clear. PHE will continue to monitor these trends and analyse the data for 2015 as soon as possible.”

Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder professor of human geography at the University of Oxford said: “Although national average life expectancy continues to rise, in many parts of England improvements have stalled in recent years. There is an urgent need to determine why this is happening.

“Beneath the headline figures of this report there is evidence of worsening health for many older people in some parts of the country.”

Dominic Harrison, director of public health for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council said: “With such a high proportion of deaths each year now in those over 80, continuing the improvement of life expectancy at older ages is critical to improving the life expectancy of the nation.

“It is great news that life expectancy is improving in some areas but worrying that life expectancy has decreased in others.

“Deaths in older age groups – who are amongst the most vulnerable in the population – may actually be telling us a lot about the risks being experienced by us all.

“I welcome this report - we need to look very carefully at what it might be telling us.”

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