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UK life expectancy growing at slower rate than rest of G7, research shows

Life expectancy in the UK has grown at a slower rate than comparable countries over the past seven decades, according to researchers, who say this is the result of widening inequality.

The UK lags behind all other countries in the group of G7 advanced economies except the US, according to a new analysis of global life expectancy rankings published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

While life expectancy has increased in absolute terms, similar countries have experienced larger increases, they wrote. In the 1950s, the UK had one of the longest life expectancies in the world, ranking seventh globally behind countries such as Denmark, Norway and Sweden, but in 2021 the UK was ranked 29th.

The researchers said this was partly due to income inequality, which rose considerably in the UK during and after the 1980s.

Prof Martin McKee, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “That rise also saw an increase in the variation in life expectancy between different social groups. One reason why the overall increase in life expectancy has been so sluggish in the UK is that in recent years it has fallen for poorer groups".

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Source: The Guardian, 16 March 2023


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