Northerners 20% more likely to die young compared to southerners, research warns

Northerners are much more likely to die young compared to their southern counterparts, according to a shocking new report.

The research – led by academics from the University of Manchester – found that the north-south divide is widening when it comes to life expectancy, highlighting the need for investment in the north.  

A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Health revealed that people in the north of England are 20% more likely to die early (before age 75) than those in the south.

Iain Buchan, the Professor of Public Health Informatics at the University of Manchester who led the research, explained that the root causes come back down to social and economic factors

He told MM: “There is a much greater level of prosperity in the South than in the North.

“For example, if you take the most deprived areas which are most strongly associated with poor health outcomes like early death, there are three times more of the top ten most deprived areas in the North than there are in the south of England.”

Experts have known about the divide in mortality since the 1990s, but it’s now getting even worse.

The report is especially bad news for young and middle-aged northerners because in 2015 there were 29% more deaths among those aged 25-44 in the north than in the south, and 49% among those aged 25-35.

To produce the study, researchers used data from the Office of National Statistics on the entire English population from 1965 to 2015.

The gap means that over these 50 years, approximately 1.2million more people have died prematurely in the north compared to the south, considering differences in population.

Although economic reasons are important, the research showed that periods of recession had little impact on the divide.

Speaking to MM, Professor Buchan warned that is important to avoid a ‘blame culture’ which links northern habits to poor health.

He said: “The simple fact that those who have more access to resources and more control over their own life have more opportunities to take healthy choices than those who live in more stressful circumstances, with fewer resources and less control over their own life.”

In order to combat the gap, the academic called for ‘systematic, sustained, positive discrimination to create jobs and prosperous environments that breed health in the north’.

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