By Ian Lewis
The average man or woman in a well-off area of London can expect to live healthily for over 15 years longer than their counterparts in areas with England's lowest healthy life expectancy (HLE) rates, new figures reveal.
Women living in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames have an HLE of 72.1 years with men's put at 70.3, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.
But in Manchester the HLE for men is just 55 years, with that of women only 54.1 in London's Tower Hamlets.
HLE is the number of years someone can expect to spend in 'very good' or 'good' general health.
Figures show why some people live longer
The Faculty of Public Health's vice president, Dr John Middleton, said: "These figures are an important part of a bigger picture of data that tells us why some people live longer than others.
"We know that healthy life expectancy is determined by our chances of being in a job, living in decent housing and having an adequate income.
"Clearly having a healthy lifestyle makes a big difference, but so does being in employment.
"There are also variations within towns and cities. Parts of Manchester will have better results than others, and there may well be places near Richmond where people do not fare as well as these figures suggest."
The figures also reveal an HLE in the North East that is significantly higher than in other regions, the ONS said.
The biggest gender inequality is in Blackpool, where women can expect to live an average of 6.2 years longer than men.
Dr Middleton added: "The kind of data that is published today may not be available in years to come.
"The Office for National Statistics is having to consider cutting programmes that measure this vital information.
"We need to keep monitoring as much as we can about our health so that we can continue to improve it.
"Otherwise, the gaps between the 'health haves' and 'health have nots' will continue to get wider."
The ONS figures relate to HLE at birth in England between 2009 and 2011.