Unskilled workers close life expectancy gap

The gap in life expectancy between those working in unskilled jobs and those
in professional occupations has narrowed, latest official statistics have

New figures from the Office for National Statistics covering the years 1972
to 1999, showed that for 1997 to 1999, life expectancy in the professional
social classes was 78.5 years for men and 82.8 years for women.

By comparison, for men in unskilled social classes, life expectancy was 71.1
years for the same period – 7.4 years less than their peers in the professional
social classes. Life expectancy for women in the same sector was 77.1 – 5.7
years less.

The gap between the social classes for men, although still wider than the
5.5 figure reported for 1972 to 1976, was an improvement on the 9.5 years
reported in 1992 to 1996.

Public Health Minister Yvette Cooper said the fact the gap had closed was
welcome, but there was still a long way to go.

"Those from the lowest social class still have a life expectancy lower
than that enjoyed by professional men 30 years ago. That is why the Government
is committed to a major programme tackling health inequalities from child
poverty to helping people give up smoking," she added.


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