Health

In poor health: London’s shocking disparity in men’s life expectancy

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Health check. Men living up to 12 years less than women in some parts of the capital.

Men in the more deprived parts of London are living up to 17 years less than those living in the wealthier boroughs.

The shocking disparity was revealed in a Bureau investigation into male health in the capital. It showed that a man in Queen’s Gate, in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, lives to the average age of 88.3. But in Lewisham Central, South East London, life expectancy is only 70.8.

The poor life expectancy figures for men living in some parts of the capital was in sharp contrast to female life expectancy. In almost two thirds (61%) of London’s wards, the gap between men and women’s life expectancy is wider than the national average of 4.1 years.

The national average of women’s life expectancy is 82.3 years;  for men, it is 78.2 years – just over four years shorter. However, in London, the average life expectancy for men is 77.1 years, and for women it is 81.7 years – a wider gap of 4.6 years.

The gap is most notable in the more deprived parts of the capital, where women out-live men by more than 12 years.

In one ward in the heart of the city: Cathedrals, in Southwark, the Bureau found that women live on average 12.72 years longer than men. Men’s life expectancy there is 73.75 years, while women live on average until they are 86.47 years old. That’s worse than the average disparity between men and women in Russia, the country where relatively, men live the world’s second shortest lives compared to their female counterparts.[1]

Related article: Why is men’s health suffering in London?

In 41 of London’s 623 wards, (7%) the life expectancy difference for men and women is over twice the national average, while in nine wards, men are living at least a decade shorter than women.

The wards with the largest gaps were generally located in the boroughs of Haringey, Newham, Brent, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Westminster, Lambeth, Camden, and Southwark.

Cathedrals, in Southwark, the Bureau found that women live on average 12.72 years longer than men.

Lack of spending
Yet despite the low life expectancy rate for men in many parts of the capital, only a handful of health trusts commission services specifically aimed at the male population.

Alan White, Professor of men’s health at Leeds University and lead author of a recent EU report into men’s health, said a real lack of initiatives directed at the male population was a real problem. ‘At the moment there is a blindness to the fact that there are men wanting to use the services and they can’t.’

Through FOI requests, the Bureau found that PCTs in London spent around £2m more commissioning women’s third sector services than on those directed at men’s health, while many of London’s councils did not spend a penny commissioning services aimed specifically at male wellbeing.

The trend remains even in boroughs including Haringey, Brent, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Camden, where men have the worst life expectancies.

Related article: Men’s health – A correlation between the gender gap and deprivation?

Dan Taylor, London Coordinator for the campaign against living miserably, (CALM), said: ‘Services that specifically address men and resonate with their lives and empower them to get help are urgently needed. Women’s services are important – but the balance needs to be equal, with support services that men can buy into getting their funding increased and matched to women’s services. This may require a rethink about how such services are developed and branded in the first place.’

The Data

The table below shows the 30 wards with the largest gaps in life expectancy between men and women. Alongside is the ward’s rank in the 2011 Index of Deprivation – with ‘1’ being most deprived and ‘628’ being the least. Overall, there is a general trend that the more deprived the ward, the greater the age of mortality difference.

 

Names

Borough

Age of mortality difference Deprivation Rank 2011
1 Cathedrals Southwark

12.72

301

2 Stroud Green Haringey

10.77

303

3 Stonebridge Brent

10.62

6

4 Little Venice Westminster

10.47

257

5 Victoria Hackney

10.42

38

6 Stoke Newington Central Hackney

10.39

109

7 College Park and Old Oak Hammersmith & Fulham

10.12

58

8 Fulham Reach Hammersmith & Fulham

10.10

308

9 Addison Hammersmith & Fulham

10.07

262

10 Redcliffe Kensington & Chelsea

9.66

326

11 Millwall Tower Hamlets

9.50

250

12 Bromley-by-Bow Tower Hamlets

9.44

10

13 St. Pancras and Somers Town Camden

9.27

96

14 Plumstead Greenwich

9.26

180

15 Northumberland Park Haringey

9.07

1

16 Canning Town South Newham

9.06

5

17 St. George’s Islington

9.06

121

18 Alperton Brent

9.05

442

19 Becontree Barking & Dagenham

9.02

190

20 Whitechapel Tower Hamlets

9.02

79

21 Fryent Brent

8.96

348

22 Elthorne Ealing

8.95

227

23 Harrow Road Westminster

8.80

75

24 Vassall Lambeth

8.80

95

25 Tottenham Green Haringey

8.73

12

26 Woodside Haringey

8.69

76

27 Dundonald Merton

8.66

446

28 Shepherd’s Bush Green Hammersmith & Fulham

8.65

139

29 Earl’s Court Kensington & Chelsea

8.64

283

30 Gospel Oak Camden

8.63

167

 


A version of this story was published in the Evening Standard.


[1] Source: WHO 2009 Life expectancy at birth (years) data http://apps.who.int/ghodata/?vid=710#