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Post-Pandemic, People In The UK Are Living Longer, Healthier And Richer Lives Report Reveals

New findings by the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC) reveal that since 2019, the UK is simply treading water when it comes to healthy ageing.

To enable more people to stay healthy for longer, the ILC – UK’s leading authority on the impact of longevity on society – calls upon the next government to invest more in preventing ill health and supporting people to adopt healthier behaviours.

The good news is that, on average, people in the UK are living longer, healthier and richer lives than before the pandemic.

Comparing the latest 2022 data across life span, health span and income with 2019 data, ILC’s analysis finds that, on average,  we:

  • Live 6 months longer: average UK life span has improved from 81.7 to 82.2 years
  • Spend 5 more months in good health: average UK health span has improved from 70.1 to 70.5 years
  • Are richer, making around £560 today a year more than we did in 2019; mean average income has increased from £37,485 to £38,045 today

But over this three-year period, we’ve seen a drop in work span, environmental performance, and happiness and as a result the UK global ranking on ILC’s Healthy Ageing and Prevention Index remains largely unchanged since 2019 (ranked 14th).

ILC analysis has shown that between 2019 and 2022:

  • We work 6 months less than before the pandemic: our average work span has dropped from 31.6 to 31.1 years
  • We’re less happy now: the UK’s happiness score has dropped 0.5 points from 7.2 to 6.7 points out of 10.
  • And as a country, we are less environmentally sustainable than in 2019: the UK’s environmental performance score has dropped from 81.3 to 77.7.

While globally the pandemic has had a significant negative impact on people’s life expectancy and the number of years spent in good health, the UK has fared better on a population level. However, what these statistics don’t show are the significant inequalities between people’s health and income – as much as a 19-year difference in healthy life expectancy between the most and least deprived parts of the country.

While the UK still does well in environmental terms relative to other countries (ranking 2nd) and even improving in ranking from 4th in 2019 to 2nd in 2022, however, the data shows a slide in the wrong direction. The drops in work span and happiness are also of concern and could have serious implications for both the health of individuals and the UK’s economy.

To begin to address these issues the ILC calls on the next Government to:

  • Invest at least 6% of the UK health budget annually on preventing ill health
  • Take forward initiatives that include minimum alcohol pricing, sugar taxes, and compulsory reformulation of foods high in fat, sugar or salt
  • Create an innovation fund to develop and scale initiatives to get the UK moving.

David Sinclair, ILC’s Chief Executive said:
“We can and should do much better. We urgently need new solutions to address the wide disparities in healthy life expectancy between rich and poor and to enable more people to stay healthy for longer. We need our politicians to embrace the nanny state; holding firm on policies and taking bold decisions to benefiting generations in the future even though they might inconvenience vested interests today.”

Stephen Burke, CEO of Hallmark Foundation which has co-funded the development of the Index, said:
“The latest index is a wakeup call for all nations – we can’t assume that we will continue to live longer lives in good health. The index highlights the issues countries need to consider if they want to move up the ranking – from how long we work to how happy we are. Crucially all countries must do more to invest in prevention and reduce inequalities.”

 

 

 
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