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Why is this National Indicator important?
We are living longer than ever before in Scotland. Yet, healthy life expectancy remains lower than most other western European countries. There is also a large variation within Scotland itself. This means that a man living in one of our most deprived areas can expect to live in good health for 10.5 years less than the average man in Scotland. The equivalent gap for women is 8.6 years.
It is a key priority of this Government, therefore, to address the inequality in health outcomes experienced by those living in deprivation and to ensure the people of Scotland have equal opportunities to participate both socially and economically.
What will influence this National Indicator?
Healthy life expectancy is influenced by a vast range and complex interaction of factors running through each individual's life, from conception to death. These include:
- Maternal health and wellbeing, including teenage pregnancy, smoking, drinking, drugs and diet.
- Parental relationships and influences in the early years of life, including breastfeeding, mental health, diet, physical activity, dental health and support for cognitive and educational development.
- Later health-related behaviours and lifestyle choices.
- Access to health and other services.
- Wider factors influencing health such as income, education, skills and employment.
What is the Government's role?
The Ministerial Task Force of Health Inequalities identified the key actions and interventions which can most significantly impact on the determinants and behaviours which drive the current levels of inequalities in healthy life expectancy across Scotland. Equally Well, the Report of the Ministerial Task Force on Health Inequalities, was published in June 2008. The Government also needs to ensure that investment in the full range of health and wellbeing policies takes particular account of the needs of those living in deprivation, particularly supporting interventions and activity which address the key determinants of health inequalities. The policies and activities to support early years, education, employment and income/poverty are most important in determining long term health outcomes.
How are we performing?
Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE) in deprived areas is considerably lower than that in Scotland overall. In the most deprived 15% of areas in Scotland in 2007/2008, healthy life expectancy at birth was 57.5 years for males (compared with 68.0 years for all males) and 61.9 years for females (compared with 70.5 years for all females). HLE has increased steadily since 1999/2000 and the increase in the latest 2 year period has largely been driven by females with an increase of 1.5 years whereas the increase for males was only 0.2 years over the same period. Since 1999/2000 HLE in deprived areas has increased at a slower rate than that for Scotland as a whole but in the latest period the rate of increase in deprived areas was greater.
Sources: NHS Information Services Division, General Register Office Scotland, General Household Survey, Scottish Household Survey and Scottish Government Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation.
Note: The current series is based on 2006 SIMD data. By using SIMD 2006 it is possible that the improvement has been overestimated as the SIMD 2006 areas are no longer all the most deprived areas overall.
View data on healthy life expectancy
This evaluation is based on: any difference in the combined percentage change for both sexes within +/- 1.0% of the previous figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A combined increase of 1.0% or more for both sexes suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 1.0% or more suggests the position is worsening.
For information on general methodological approach, please click here.
Scotland Performs Technical Note
Statistics Topic Page
Who are our partners?
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