British life expectancy is second worst in G7
bRITISH life expectancy has fallen in world rankings – with only the US worse among advanced economies, a study reveals.
Seventy years ago, the UK had one of the longest life expectancies ratings in the world, ranking tenth behind countries such as Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
but despite the average briton now living more than 12 years longer than in the 1950s, progress here has stalled compared with other developed nations.
The UK has now fallen to 36th place in global standings.
America was found to be the only G7 country to fare worse – dropping from 13th to 53rd in the UN’s list of 200 countries.
Experts suggest britain’s sluggish progress is likely to be due to health inequality widening, resulting in poorer social groups dying earlier than the wealthy. Researchers from Oxford University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine examined global life expectancy ratings between 1952 and 2021. They paid particular attention to G7 nations – UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US – advanced countries which collectively represent about half of global economic output.
Average life expectancy in the UK was found to have risen from 68.63 years in 1950 to 80.43 years in 2020. This compared with 68.06 and 77.41 respectively in the US.
but these improvements have failed to keep pace with nations such as Norway and Sweden, whose residents can now expect to live to 83.20 and 82.43 respectively.
And Japan has seen remarkable progress, moving up from 45th to third in world rankings.
The study’s authors said britain’s fall down the rankings has been decades in the making and factors include a rise in income inequality during and after the 1980s.
Dr Lucinda Hiam, of Oxford University, told the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine: ‘In the short term, the Government has an acute crisis to address. However, a relative worsening of population health is evidence that all is not well. It has historically been an early sign of severe political and economic problems.
‘This analysis suggests that the problems the UK faces are deepseated and raises serious questions about the path that this country is following.’