The North East is the only region in the UK not to see an increase in life expectancy according to newly released figures.
On average, the life expectancy of males and females aged 65 increased between 2013 and 2014, statistics show.
The average length of time pensioners can expect to live once they reach 65 has increased from the previous year. The one region to not see an increase in longevity is the North East. Experts believe it is due to excessive use of alcohol and smoking as well as the heavy industry in the area.
Dr Jonathan Ling, reader in public health at the University of Sunderland said, said: “There are a range of reasons for the North East’s lower life expectancy – the region’s heritage of heavy industry, the North East is one of the poorest in England, high levels of excessive alcohol use and smoking.
“All of which should be targets for public health intervention.”
Dr Ken McGarry, Senior Lecturer in Statistics in Health Science at the University of Sunderland said: “Basically it’s an issue of poverty and long term entrenched behaviours.”
Regional differences are highlighted by the report, which showed that men aged 65 live more than a year longer in the London, South West, South East and East of England regions compared to those in the North East.
Gender differences were also shown in the report. Men can expect to live for another 19 years once they reach the retirement age of 65, which has increased by 0.3 years since 2013.
The report also showed that, by the age of 75 men can expect to live another 12 years and six more years at 85.
In addition, men aged 95 have another three years of life expectancy.
Women in the report also saw a 0.3-year rise and can look forward to living another 21 years once reaching 65.
Once women reach 75 they can anticipate living 13 more years, and seven more upon reaching 85, with a further three once reaching 95.