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Life Expectancy Of UK Women Second Worst In Europe Says WHO

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The life expectancy of UK women has been ranked as the second worst among 15 European countries, according to the European Health Report 2015 released by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The report stated that the life expectancy of British women born in 2011 is 82.7 years old, falling behind that of Denmark's, which had the worst rank. Lives for women living in Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Greece and Netherlands, among many others were all assumed to be longer compared to those who hail from the UK.

"It is deeply concerning that the UK is lagging behind almost all of the most developed nations in Europe in terms of average life expectancy for women," said Caroline Abrahams, the charity director of Age UK. Aside from that, women in the aspects with the top-ranking life expectancy live nearly seven years more than those who exhibit the lowest.

The report also said that the rates of early mortalities due to cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic pulmonary conditions and diabetes were far higher in both UK men and women compared to those living in Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Malta, Norway, Cyprus, France and Finland, among many others.

Aside from these findings, UK also exhibited high rates of overweight and obese people, with 63.4 percent and 28.1 percent respectively. These numbers are significantly greater than the average rates noted among Europeans, which is 56.9 percent for overweight people and 22.7 percent for obese individuals.

Drinking and smoking rates were also found to be highest among those coming from Europe. About 30 percent in the region smoke tobacco and each individual per year is drunk by approximately 11 liters of pure alcohol. Europeans consume alcohol and smoke cigarettes more than anyone, and it is not a good record, said Claudia Stein from WHO.

Mortality rates for European men aged 30-44 years old and women aged 30-74 years old, however, fell above the average European rates.

Overall, life expectancy is improving across Europe and is currently on the right track towards decreasing annual early deaths by 1.5 percent until 2020.

Mortalities caused by external forces such as accidents and suicides have also exhibited better rates since the last European health report released in 2012.

While these improvements are worthy of praise, Zsuzsanna Jakab, the European regional director of WHO, extended a warning. The improvements incurred over the recent years may disappear should the present rates of smoking and drinking persist, she said. This concern is particularly applicable to young individuals, who may not reach the span of life that their grandparents had lived or are still living.

Photo: Anna & Michal | Flickr

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