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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Iuliia Vlasova

Edinburgh healthy life expectancy statistics 'paint a very worrying picture'

New statistics on Edinburgh life expectancy paint a 'worrying picture' for residents.

It was revealed that while healthy life expectancy for males continues falling over time and is currently at its lowest in five years, Edinburgh females are spending bigger proportions of their lives in good health.

This comes as the National Records of Scotland (NRS) has shed light on the Scots life expectancy and healthy life expectancy in their recent set of data, published earlier this month.

For Edinburgh residents, the statistics showed that despite there being a significant change in the proportion of life spent in good health - for both women and men - the general life expectancy has only changed slightly.

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Just two years ago, a man in Edinburgh could expect to spend over 66 years of their life in good health. This has now dropped to an average of 62.9 years, according to a new report.

However, the figures paint a radically less bleak picture for female residents of Edinburgh. The healthy life expectancy for a woman has maintained a peak of 66 years since 2018 - four years more than their male counterparts.

This comes as the National Records of Scotland (NRS) has shed light on the Scots life expectancy and healthy life expectancy in their recent set of data, published earlier this month.

Local females are currently expected to live on average until 82.43 years, and males – 78 years.

But comparing the healthy life expectancy data in Lothian region, the figures show a huge disparity across the four council areas.

For males, Edinburgh has the highest rate of healthy life expectancy, followed by West Lothian at 61.5 years and 60.7 years for East Lothian.

Midlothian falls slightly below the average for Scotland – at 60.4 years – at 59.7 years.

For females, there is even greater disparity. Women in East Lothian can expect 68.4 healthy years, followed by Edinburgh at 66.3 years and Midlothian at 61.9 years. West Lothian is the only area where healthy life expectancy for men is higher than that for women – atwhich is 59.5 years. It all compares to the 61.1 years average for Scotland.

The report also revealed there has been little improvement in overall life expectancy across the whole country for the last decade. This is something officials say has not been helped by ongoing inequality between areas and the recent Covid pandemic.

Overall life expectancy in Edinburgh has remained stagnant in recent years, averaging at 78 years for men and 82.4 years for women. But this number remains well above the Scottish average of 76.6 years for males and 80.8 years for females.

Reflecting on Edinburgh’s position compared to its closest neighbours, a spokesperson for Public Health Scotland said: “Inequalities in life expectancy continue to persist between areas of Scotland.

“These inequalities are explained by differences in wider environmental factors, such as differences in socioeconomic position.

“Our vision is to see life expectancy improve again, and the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest areas get smaller.”

Reflecting on the life expectancy trends, they added: “Life expectancy in Scotland has not meaningfully improved since 2012. Mortality rates have been higher in Scotland, other parts of the UK, and internationally, since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As life expectancy is estimated using mortality estimates, life expectancy has therefore reduced since the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to reductions in life expectancy estimates, as the weighted impact becomes more apparent in estimates (2018-20 contains one pandemic year; 2019-21 contains two pandemic years).”

Leading age charity Age Scotland is now calling for improvements in preventative care and more investment.

A spokesperson for Age Scotland Adam Stachura said: “The impact of Covid-19 on our nation’s health has been significant and reaches far beyond the effects of the virus on its own.

“Our access to healthcare, diagnosis, treatment and recovery was essentially on hold for a period of time and is still catching up with the extraordinary demand. This will have had a major part to play in explaining the falling healthy life expectancy across Edinburgh and the Lothians. The figures paint a very worrying picture and shows that much more needs to be done to improve people’s health and wellbeing.

“Preventing ill health in the first instance clearly needs more of a focus and investment. This is so important for people in the short term, but also in the long term as Scotland’s rapidly ageing population, who will on average be spending a greater proportion of their life in poor health, will then likely need more and more support from the NHS and social care.

“We want to see Scotland as the best place to grow older, and increasing both life expectancy and healthy life expectancy is a key part of this.”


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