People born in the wealthy south east have 14 more years without disability than those from Liverpool or Manchester

Further evidence of the scale of the UK’s health divide was revealed today as it emerged that those born in the richest London boroughs and affluent parts of the South East can expect to enjoy up to 14 years of additional disability-free life compared with those from the most deprived parts of England.

An average man born in Liverpool or Manchester will live for just 56 years before developing a major life-limiting condition, spending a quarter of his natural span coping with disability, figures published by the Office for National Statistics have revealed.

The findings have major implications for health policy makers who were urged to take urgent steps to end the lifespan lottery of an individual’s birthplace dictating their future longevity and wellbeing.

The authors of the analysis said it was vital that the number of years lived without a disabling health condition rises faster or at the same rate as increasing life spans.

“If this is not the case, then these additional years of life are being spent in poor health and greater dependency and will put additional strain on health and social care resources,” they concluded.

The two cities – which have both been forced into making savage cuts in their adult social care budgets - were bottom of a league table measuring issues such as reduced mobility, memory loss or poor sight among men in English council areas. Newham in east London was the third worst performing.

Women born in Derby recorded just 57.5 years disability-free, from an expected lifespan of 81.7 years.

By contrast both men and women born in Richmond-upon-Thames in south-west London had the longest period of fully active life enjoying 70.3 and 71.8 years respectively.

Martin McKee, professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and fellow of the Faculty of Public Health, said the statistics were a graphic reminder of the gulf between rich and poor and required a concerted effort by politicians to fund solutions.

He said: “There is no single cause. Rather, it is the accumulation of the effects of disadvantage and adversity all along the life course.”

“We can see the health divide already in the first years of life. Those who get off to a difficult start are less likely to succeed in education, to obtain secure, well paid employment, afford healthy diets, and to live in warm, dry, and spacious housing. They are more likely to adopt unhealthy lifestyles, often because then cannot afford to do otherwise and to suffer from mental illness.”

Prof McKee added: “Ultimately the solution lies with the politicians, in Westminster, in the Mayor of London's offices, and in town halls, to act on the advice they receive.

Despite the scale of the health problems in Liverpool and Manchester, the north east was the region where people were most likely to experience the highest proportion of life with a disability with men expected to live 16.6 years and women for more than 20.5 years with chronic conditions.

Men born in the south east by contrast could expect an additional four years of good health and women a further three years. The figures, taken for the period 2008-2010, revealed that the average disability-free life expectancy at birth in England was 63.6 years for males and 64.8 years for females.

In Wales, which was not covered by the study, the average disability free life expectancy was 59.1 for both sexes. Data from Scotland, which measures healthy life expectancy based on self-reported well-being, shows men likely to live an average of 59.5 years in a “healthy” state whilst women will experience 61.9 years.

Life expectancy has increased dramatically since the 1980s and is expected to continue to rise with further advancements in medical science. A study by Cancer Research UK published this week found that more than half of cancer sufferers were now likely to survive for 10 years or more – twice the survival rate from the 1970s.

But the growth in the effectiveness of drug therapies and declines in the morbidity of illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and stroke has meant the number of years lived with a disabling condition is increasing too.

Respondents to the study were asked whether they have health problems or disabilities they expected to last for a more than a year.

If they answered yes they were asked whether these taken singly or together would substantially limit their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Those that answered affirmatively to both questions were classified as having a disability. The conditions also included ability to concentrate, hearing loss or poor co-ordination.

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick