A new report from UK points to the difficulty in helping people achieve long, healthy lives, even where there is universal healthcare available.(1)
Obviously there is a large variation in the US, where universal care has been rescinded with the repeal of provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
There is variation in UK, but the average is higher than in the US, and the range from lowest to highest is far less than in the US.
In 2010–12, male life expectancy at birth was highest in East Dorset (82.9 years) and lowest in Glasgow City (72.6 years).(2)
The range in the US goes from 59 years on a Native American reservation in South Dakota to 88 years in New York City.
In both countries, life expectancy is correlated with wealth. That is, the more money you have, the longer you live.
Certainly, one issue is the provision of quality healthcare in poorer areas. Right now, the UK is better at doing that than the US, but far from perfect.
“The report’s call for greater targeted investment in public health is welcome, but sadly echoes calls made by the International Longevity Centre and other experts that have gone unheeded for far too long. If the UK is to realise the potential of our rapidly ageing population and all that could mean for our society, we must ensure that the benefits of longevity are shared by all.”(1)
However, there are also lifestyle issues that affect health and life expectancy:
- Obesity and consumption of fatty foods
- Exercise or lack thereof
- Recreational drug and alcohol abuse
These impact the poor in both countries, who are likely to indulge more in self-destructive behavior than are the wealthy.
On the map above, the American South plus Kentucky and West Virginia is represented by the “red crater.” These are the people least likely to get help from local government and most likely to need it.
- City University London. “Life expectancy significantly worse in deprived areas.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 April 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180411145104.htm>
- Great Britain Office of National Statistics, https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/lifeexpectancies/bulletins/lifeexpectancyatbirthandatage65bylocalareasintheunitedkingdom/2014-04-16