SCOTS in the most deprived communities are spending more than one third of their lives in poor health, according to new figures released by National Records of Scotland.
The report measured how long the average person in Scotland can expect to live in good health using the metric of Healthy Life Expectancy (HLE).
HLE is a population average based on the self-reported experiences of a sample of people.
The results found that between 2019-2021 the average healthy life expectancy for females was 61.1 years and 60.4 years for males.
This a drop from the previous report’s findings, with female healthy life expectancy decreasing by 37.5 weeks and male healthy life expectancy by 28 weeks.
This is in line with a downward trend that started in 2014-2016 for females and 2015-2017 for males.
When results were compared across different areas HLE for females living in the most depreived areas was almost 25 years lower. The difference was even greater for males at 26 years.
Maria Kaye-Bardgett, a statistician for the National Records of Scotland, said: “It’s important to recognise the difference between life expectancy and healthy life expectancy but also how they impact on each other.
“These figures show that people living in the most deprived communities are more likely to report their health as being poor – so they have a shorter healthy life expectancy.
“We already know from life expectancy figures that people in the most deprived communities die at younger ages. Using both sets of figures we can say that males and females in the most deprived communities spend more than a third of their lives in poor health.
“In comparison people in the least deprived areas can expect to live around 15% of their lives in poor health and will enjoy longer lives.”
HLE has been higher for females than for males since the start of the time series for this data, which goes back to 2015. However, the gap between males and females has become smaller over time.
The latest report found that those living in the Orkney Islands had the highest healthy life expectancy among both males and females.
North Lanarkshire had the lowest healthy life expectancy for males and North Ayrshire the lowest for females.
It comes after a report published by the University of Glasgow earlier this year found that people across the UK are dying younger as a result of austerity.
The report found that after 2012 life expectancy stopped improving and death rates among those living in the most deprived areas increased.
It highlighted that the UK Government’s austerity policies, which have squeezed billions of pounds from public services and social security, were “the most likely contributory cause” and pointed to the “tragic consequences” of policy decisions made by successive Conservative governments.