People in the north get sicker earlier in life, reveals report

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There is a gap of 16 years between the age people are struck down with disability or long-term illness depending on where they live in England, latest figures reveal.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said people born in the south of England have a much higher “disability-free life expectancy” (DFLE) compared with those in the north.

Baby girls born in Herefordshire between 2009 and 2011 have a DFLE of 71.7 years - 16.1 years longer than girls born in Tower Hamlets, east London, who can expect to live 55.6 years on average before being struck down with illness or disability.

Boys born in Richmond upon Thames can expect to live until they are 69.9 without disability while those born in Liverpool have a DFLE of 56.4 years - 13.5 years less than those born in the south west London borough.

In Yorkshire, the average DFLE is 62.0 for both boys and girls born between 2009 and 2011, rising to 63.9 years on average in England and 64.4 years for girls.

It ranges from 56.5 years in Barnsley for boys and 57.1 years in Hull for girls to 66.5 years for both sexes in North Yorkshire.

Worryingly, the figures pointed to a significant decline in disability-free life expectancy for girls born in Hull and Leeds between 2006-8 and 2009-11.

But there had been a major improvement in the outlook for both men and women aged 65 in Bradford who could look forward to a longer period without illness or disability.

The ONS report states: “There was a clear north-south divide, with the southern regions having higher DFLE.”