A 60-year-old woman living in England’s poorest neighborhoods typically suffers the same level of illness as a 16-year-old woman living in the wealthiest neighborhoods, a study of health disparities has found.
The Health Foundation has found that men’s health makes a big difference as well. A 60-year-old man who lives in his poorest 10% of the country usually carries the same burden of disease as a 70-year-old man in his richest 10%.
An analysis of NHS data by a think tank shows that women in the poorest parts of England are, on average, diagnosed with long-term illness at age 40, while women in the wealthiest parts are not diagnosed until they are 48.
Poverty-stricken women spend 43.6 years, or 52%, of their lives suffering from diagnosed illnesses.
Moreover, women from the most disadvantaged backgrounds died at the age of 83.6 on average, more than five years earlier than wealthy women’s life expectancy of 88.8 years.
Similarly, the poorest men are expected to live 42.7 years disease-free, while it is much longer among the richest 10% of the population at 49.2 years. And their life expectancy he is 78.3 years, the life expectancy of the richest people is 87.1 years.
The findings highlight the UK’s pervasive socio-economic inequalities in health, which the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted. Ministers have pledged to make tackling them a priority as part of their commitment to leveling up, but a promised white paper on it has been delayed.
The researchers, led by Toby Watt, said their findings are likely the most accurate ever published. This is because it is based on data detailing patient interactions with primary care and hospital services and, unlike previous studies, does not rely on people’s self-reported health status.
“In human terms, these stark disparities indicate that at age 40, the average woman living in the poorest parts of England is receiving treatment for her first long-term illness. mean discomfort, decreased quality of life, and, depending on the content, additional visits to a GP, medication, or hospital. You can live another eight years (about 10% of your life) without any decline,” says Watt.
“Poverty-stricken 40-year-old women experience dyspnea from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, alcoholism, chronic pain, anxiety and depression throughout their lives, and are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke at an early age. She’s unlikely to be 80, but she’ll be living with a more serious illness than a wealthy woman.”
He and his team found that inequalities in the burden of disease begin in childhood, persist into adulthood and into old age, and change naturally. The entire life cycle can be largely explained by just a handful of ailments, including breathing problems, anxiety, depression, stroke, heart attack, and drinking-related problems.
In a speech last year, then-Health Secretary Sajid Javid identified “disparity sickness” as a leading cause of preventable deaths and promised to tackle its underlying causes.
Watt urged that whoever becomes the next prime minister, Riz Truss or Rishi Sunak, treat health inequalities as a top priority. We need to focus on “quality jobs, housing and education,” he added.
A Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman said: their background.
“We have set up an Office for Health Improvement and Disparities to drive progress in improving health, reduce these unacceptable disparities, and focus on the places and communities where ill health is most prevalent.
“While women live longer than men on average, we recognize that they spend much of their lives in poor health. We are working to close the gap.”