Posted on Mar 02, 2020, 8 p.m.
According to a recent study published in the Longevity Science Panel although lifespans for both genders are increasing, women’s lifespans are growing more slowly than men’s which may be due to lifestyle factors.
Across the Western world average life expectancy is increasing for men and women, but the rate of increase is slowing particularly for women. According to the researchers this may be due to more women working, stress, drinking, and smoking as well as men being less likely to work in dangerous and polluted industries such as coal mining.
Some of the top contributing factors are thought to be obesity and dementia in this report which was based on mortality records spanning back to the 1960s. Based on these figures British men can expect to live to be 79 and women can expect to live to be 82 years old.
Some of the top contributing factors are thought to be obesity and dementia in this report which was based on mortality records spanning back to 1965 to 2015. Based on these figures British men can expect to live to be 79 and women can expect to live to be 82 years old.
“Disadvantaged groups may be impacted more, increasing their mortality rates disproportionally such that overall mortality improvements are stalled. As women are notably affected more than men in our analyses, we suggest that austerity has disproportionately impacted women in these countries.”
Based on the analysed population mortality trends across developed countries the LSP concluded:
- Mortality improvements rate after 2010 in most countries have been lower than that in previous years; magnitude of changes varies by country, gender and age bands.
- The LSP has used historical international data from 1965 to 2010 to project mortality improvements rate beyond 2010 for people above age 50. For women, the observed mortality improvements after 2010 have been lower than projections, except in Denmark.
- For men, the situation is less clear-cut. Out of 16 countries investigated with observed data from 2011 to 2015, ten countries, including the UK, have experienced lower mortality improvements than projected.
Dame Karen Dunnell, the Chair of LSP, concluded: ‘Part of the slowdown in mortality improvement rates of the over 50s since 2011 would have been expected from historical trends in many countries, especially among men. There has been notable slowdown, compared with projections, since 2011 in many countries especially among women. But, there are some countries with higher mortality improvement rates than projected. A better understanding of the drivers behind these complex trends will inform policies.”
Professor Debora Price, Professor of Social Gerontology at the University of Manchester said: “The gender issues highlighted by this report are very concerning and we need urgently to understand what is driving these. We know that austerity policies have fallen mostly on women – could this be part of the explanation for higher than expected deaths?”
Professor Steven Haberman, Professor of Actuarial Science at Cass Business School, City, University of London said: “Within the UK, there is also worrying evidence of widening gaps between the trends for the better off sections of society compared to the more deprived. We should expect continuing volatility in mortality rates as the population ages and with the increasing likelihood of more extreme weather events such as heat waves or cold snaps.”
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