My role


Headline figures: the grim statistics

Men face some big health problems:

  • The average life expectancy of a male born in the UK in 2008 is 77.4 years.  It is highest in England (77.7) and lowest in Scotland (75). Llife-expectancy for women is 81.6 years.
  • Men who are defined as partly skilled or unskilled have a far lower life expectancy. In 2005, the last year for which such comparitive data is available, life expectancy at birth for men in social class 1 was already 77.7 years (higher than the average for all men today). For those in Social Class V, it was just 68.2 years.
  • The average man can expect to be seriously or chronically ill for 14.3 years of his life (2004 figure). The average woman can expect to beseriously or chronically ill for 17 years of her life. Both of these figures have increased since 1981.
  • The majority of men are too heavy for their health: 43% are medically defined as overweight and an additional 23% as obese (2005). The figures for women are 32% and 25%.
  • Just one man in three is of a healthy weight. From 1993 to 2005, the proportion of adults with a 'desirable' weight (a BMI of 18.5 to 24) decreased from 41% to 34%
  • 25% of men still smoke (2005); 16% use illicit drugs (2006-7) - up from 13% in 1998.
  • The majority of men drink alcohol at a level that could be harmful to their health. In 2005, 35% of men exceeded the recommended daily limit (four units ) at least one day during the previous week. A further 19% drank more than eight units, double the recommended daily limit.
  • In the UK about 120,000 men die prematurely (ie before the age of 75) every year - about 330 men a day. Nearly two out of every three deaths before the age of 65 are men.
  • 30% of premature deaths in men were from cardio-vascular disease in 2006. (In total there were over 38,000 premature deaths from heart disease in the UK in 2006 – around one fifth of all premature deaths.)
  • 30% of premature deaths in men were from cancer in 2007. The most common cause was lung cancer.I n the UK in 2007, there were 19,637 male deaths from lung cancer (24% of all male cancer deaths).
  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting men alone. In 2007, it was the second most common cause of cancer death in men (10,239 deaths), accounting for 13% of all male deaths from cancer..
  • Male suicide rates are consistently higher than female. A man takes his own life every three hours in England and Wales. Three-quarters of the suicides in 2007 were men (the proportion was much the same throughout the 1991-2007 period). Male suicide rates reached a peak of 21.1 per 100,000 in 1998. In 2007 the rate for men was 16.8 per 100,000 population.

For more detailed statistics on men's health visit the Men's Health Forum website.

Compiled from latest National Statistics data, January 2010. Additional data from Heart Stats and Cancer Research UK.

Page created on January 20th, 2010

Page updated on April 23rd, 2010


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