Life expectancy study reveals biggest gap between rich and poor for 140 years

We all know that there is a chasm of difference between the lifestyles of the rich and poor in Britain, but, according to researchers at City University London, despite the fact that they have quite different life expectancy, the gap between rich and poor has not grown above that of the 1870s – until now.

In the 70 years between 1870 and 1939, improvements in clean drinking water, medicines and housing meant that the gap narrowed. From the 1950s to the 1990s, while life expectancy rose steadily, the gap between that of rich and poor remained fairly constant. But from the 1990s to present day this gap has started to widen.

Researchers, who used figures from the Human Mortality Database – the work of teams in the USA and Germany – concluded that this widening gap, the first in 140 years, was likely to be due to poor lifestyle choices.

The author of the report, Professor Les Mayhew, said: “Men in lower socio-economic groups are the most likely to make damaging lifestyle choices. They put themselves in harms way on average more than women do – they smoke more, drink more and there are periods in their lives when they partake in riskier activities.”

While those from wealthier backgrounds may also make poor lifestyle decisions, their additional finances offer them greater opportunities for making a change than those at the poorer end of the spectrum.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way. For the last decade or more, Caloo have been working with schools, institutions and local authorities to install outdoor exercise facilities, free for all to use. Open air gyms, playgrounds for the kids, multisport arenas and fitness equipment. While the well-to-do can have their sterile indoor gymnasiums, the rest of us can get the benefit of a far more sociable outdoor exercise facility, and that all important sun-giving vitamin D that doctors tells us that we all need.
If you would like to find out more about Caloo’s outdoor gyms, or if you’d like to help us to persuade your boss or local council to fund a project in your area, get in touch or take a look around our site.