The life expectancy gap between the most affluent and the most deprived members of society in England widened to nearly 10 years, British researchers have found.
The study analysed a total of 7.65 million deaths in England between 2001 and 2016 based on data from the Office for National Statistics.
Researchers at Imperial College London found that the life expectancy gap between the most affluent and most deprived sectors of society increased from 6.1 years in 2001 to 7.9 years in 2016 for women, and from 9.0 years to 9.7 years for men.
The life expectancy of women in the most deprived communities in 2016 was 78.8 years, compared to 86.7 years in the most affluent group. For men, life expectancy was 74.0 years among the poorest, compared to 83.8 years among the richest, according to the study published Thursday in the journal Lancet Public Health.
The largest contributors to life expectancy inequalities were deaths in children younger than five years old, mostly neonatal deaths, as well as respiratory diseases, heart disease, lung and digestive cancers, and dementia among the elderly.
Majid Ezzati, senior author of the research, noted that "a perfect storm of factors" led to the earlier deaths of poor people, including stagnated working income, rising price of healthy foods, funding squeeze for health and late diagnosis of diseases, reports Xinhua.
"This study suggests the poor in England are dying from diseases that can be prevented and treated," said Ezzati, who is also a professor of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.
"Greater investment in health and social care in the most deprived areas will help reverse the worrying trends seen in our work. We also need government and industry action to eradicate food insecurity and make healthy food choices more affordable, so that the quality of a family's diet isn't dictated by their income," he suggested.
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