The gap in life expectancy between the most and least deprived parts of Wales has increased, particularly for women. The study, carried out by Cardiff University and Public Health Wales, covers the years before the Covid crisis.
Women in the most deprived parts of Wales can expect to live approximately six years less (life expectancy 79 years) than those in the least deprived areas (85). For men, there was a seven-year gap between the most and least deprived areas (74 v 81 years).
Female life expectancy in the most deprived areas rose by 1.2 years between 2002 and 2018 but in the least deprived areas the increase was 2.53 years, the research concluded. For men in the most deprived areas, life expectancy rose 1.97 years, whereas in the least deprived areas it increased by 3.02 years.
For women, the gap in life expectancy was driven by deaths from respiratory disease, cancer, circulatory conditions, drug and alcohol-related deaths, the report said.
For men deaths from respiratory conditions, digestive disease, drug and alcohol-related conditions, suicides/accidents and circulatory conditions were to blame.
The lead author, Jonny Currie, a primary care and public health doctor, said, “Our analysis highlights crucial areas for action to consider as Wales recovers from the pandemic – both to build a fairer society for our population and one that is resilient to any future pandemics.”
The study’s co-author, Ciarán Humphreys, a consultant at PHW, said: “Many conditions contribute to the gap in life expectancy between the least and most disadvantaged communities. This shows that we must look beyond simple medical explanations to the root causes and to the wider conditions in which people live."