WEARSIDERS are living longer than ever – but can still expect to die nearly 10 years earlier than their counterparts in the South, new figures show.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) report shows life expectancy in the region has climbed sharply in the last 20 years.
Today, men in Sunderland can expect to clock up 76.3 years, up from 71.6 years in 1991-93, while life expectancy for women is up from 76.9 years in 1991-93 to 80.6 years over the same period.
Easington, notoriously one of the UK’s health blackspots, has seen even more significant improvements, with men now living an average of 76.9 years, compared to 71.2 years in 1991-93, and women reaching an average of 80.9 years, compared to 75.9 years two decades ago.
But the region still lags far behind the national life expectancy of 78.2 years for men and 82.3 years for women.
The ONS report shows people live longest in Kensington and Chelsea, with men reaching an average 85.1 years and woman 89.8 – the best part of a decade more than in Wearside and East Durham.
Nonnie Crawford (pictured), director of public health for Sunderland, welcomed news that life expectancy was on the rise but accepted there was still a long way to go.
“While we are pleased that life expectancy for men and women in Sunderland continues to increase, we are not complacent and would like to narrow the gap between life expectancy here in Sunderland and in the UK,” she said.
“We have a range of initiatives under way to help and support people to make healthy lifestyle choices around stopping smoking, reducing obesity through weight management and increasing physical activity, and screening through NHS Health Checks which will help us to reach our overall goal of narrowing the gap in life expectancy.
“As part of this work we are also focusing on increasing the number of people who attend screening for cancer and through our campaign Be Clear on Cancer, raising awareness of early signs and symptoms and how early diagnosis saves lives.”