‘Health gulf’ between richest and poorest

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THE “HEALTH gulf” between the poorest and richest in England has been laid bare as new figures show children in the most deprived areas can expect to live almost 20 fewer year in good health than those in the richest parts of the country.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said boys in the most deprived areas could expect to live 52.2 years in good health, compared with 70.5 years in the least deprived areas.

Meanwhile, girls in the poorest communities could expect to live 52.4 years in good health, compared with 71.3 years in the richest parts of the country.

A more accurate measure, which looked at every area of England and not just the most and least deprived, found girls in richer communities could expect to live 19.5 years longer in good health than those in poorer parts, while for boys the difference was 19.1 years.

Statisticians also looked at inequality in healthy life expectancy at birth from 2011 to 2013, and said boys could expect to live nine fewer years in the most deprived parts of England than in the least deprived areas. Life expectancy for girls in the poorest areas was 6.9 years shorter than in the least deprived areas.

Boys in the most deprived parts of England could expect to spend 70.5 per cent of their lives in good health, compared with 84.9 per cent in the richest areas.

Girls could expect to spend 66.2 per cent of their lives in good health in the most deprived areas, compared with 82.9 per cent in the least deprived parts.

Javed Khan, chief executive of children’s charity Barnardo’s, said: “The health gulf between England’s haves and have nots is a terrible indictment of the failure to address inequalities in our society over many years. The costs of growing up in poverty are now clear. Millions of children will pay for it with a curtailed life.”

Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said: “The statistics lay bare what poverty and deprivation does to children here in the UK - it damages their health and shortens lives.”

The ONS could not provide information on where geographically the lowest life expectancy was.