Life expectancy for the poorest women in England has fallen by almost 100 DAYS in five years – but the lives of the richest men have gone UP by nearly the same amount

Women born in England's poorest areas will have shorter lives because of ill health, official figures show.

Girls born in the most deprived areas in 2017 are expected to die 98 days, or three months, earlier than those born in the same areas in 2012. Meanwhile, the lives of boys born in the wealthiest areas has got three months (95 days) longer over the same period. The gap between the wealthiest and poorest women has widened to 7.4 years – with the former expected to live 86.2 years and the latter 78.7. For men the gap is even larger – 9.3 years from 74 to 83.3 – but it is increasing more slowly. Figures published by the Office for National Statistics today showed the poorest women in the country have the fastest falling life expectancies. On a scale of one to 10 measuring deprivation, women in the lowest category (one) lost nearly 100 days off their life expectancy at birth between 2012 and 2017. Women in the second, third and fifth categories also lost time – 54 days, 22 days and 25 days, respectively. Men's life expectancies only shortened in two of the deprivation categories – the second and third – and only by five days and two days. Everybody above the average level of wealth saw their lifespans increase during the five-year period. In the very richest areas (10 on the scale), men gained the most, with their lives expected to be 95 days longer and women's 84 days longer. 'We've found a large fall in life expectancy at birth among women living in the most deprived areas in England when comparing the periods 2012 to 2014 and 2015 to 2017,' said the ONS's Ben Humberstone. 'This is in contrast to the continued increases in life expectancy for women living in the least deprived areas.'This has led to a significant widening in the inequality in life expectancy at birth in England.'

Professor Majid Ezzati, from Imperial College London, shed some light on possible reasons in a paper in The Lancet last year. He said: 'Working income has stagnated and benefits have been cut, forcing many working families to use food banks. 'The price of healthy foods like fresh fruit and vegetables has increased relative to unhealthy, processed food, putting them out of the reach of the poorest. 'The funding squeeze for health and cuts to local government services since 2010 have also had a significant impact on the most deprived communities, leading to treatable diseases such as cancer being diagnosed too late, or people dying sooner from conditions like dementia.' Similar research in 2018 prompted experts to point the finger at a slowdown in health improvements and rising rates of obesity. As more people become dangerously overweight – 64 per cent of English adults are now overweight or obese – their risk of heart disease and cancer rises. ( )