Healthy life expectancy for women in the UK drops by almost FIVE MONTHS in the space of just five years – but men have seen no significant change

  • Office for National Statistics data shows healthy life expectancy fall for women
  • In 2017/19 for men it was 62.9 years, no significant change on stats in 2014/16 
  • For women it was 63.3 years, down significantly on 63.7 years recorded 2014/16 

Healthy life expectancy for women in the UK has fallen by almost five months in the space of just five years – but men have seen no significant change.

Data released today by the Office for National Statistics showed healthy life expectancy for women stood at 63.3 years between 2017 and 2019. 

That represents a ‘significant decrease’ from the 63.7 years recorded between 2014 and 2016.   

However, healthy life expectancy at birth in the UK for men between 2017 and 2019 was 62.9 years which represents ‘no significant change’ on the period between 2014 and 2016. 

Office for National Statistics data showed there has been a narrowing in the gap in healthy life expectancy at birth between men and women

The ONS data uses a definition of healthy life expectancy of the period of a lifetime spent in either very good or good health, based on an individual’s perception of their general health. 

The latest numbers were collected prior to the coronavirus crisis and as a result they do not reflect the impact of the pandemic on healthy life expectancy.  

The figures showed that since 2009 and 2011 there has been a narrowing in the gap in healthy life expectancy between men and women.       

The figure of 62.9 years for healthy life expectancy for men in the UK represents 1.7 months lower than was recorded between 2014 and 2016 – about seven weeks.

In England the number for men was 63.2 years, some 1.6 months lower than was recorded in the previous period. 

In Wales it was significantly lower at 61.2 years, some 4.9 months lower than previously, in Scotland it was 61.7 years and in Northern Ireland it was also 61.2 years.

The 63.3 years recorded for women in the UK was some 4.6 months lower than was recorded between 2014 and 2016 – about 19.8 weeks.

In England the healthy life expectancy number for women was 63.5 years, some 3.5 months lower than was recorded in 2014/16.

In Wales the number was 62.1 years, some six months lower than between 2014 and 2016, and in Scotland it was 61.9 years, some 16.4 months lower than the previous period. In Northern Ireland it was 62.2 years. 

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