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Lives Cut Short

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  • Health and where we live

In March 2023 we launched our first campaign: Lives Cut Short. Our aim was to call attention to the inequalities in life expectancy across the UK.

The number of years we can expect to live is shaped by the world around us, from good-quality homes, to stable jobs and neighbourhoods with green space and clean air. 

But not everyone in the UK gets the same opportunities to live healthy lives. People who live in our poorest neighbourhoods are dying years earlier than people in the wealthiest areas. 

It doesn't have to be this way
Due to factors out of their control, babies born in some parts of the UK are expected to live 16 years less than in other parts.
It doesn't have to be this way
Due to factors out of their control, babies born in some parts of the UK are expected to live 16 years less than in other parts.
It doesn't have to be this way
Due to factors out of their control, babies born in some parts of the UK are expected to live 16 years less than in other parts.
It doesn't have to be this way
It doesn't have to be this way
It doesn't have to be this way

In the UK, where you’re born can cut your life short by 16 years. Due to factors out of their control, a baby born in Blackpool South will – on average – live to 75, whereas a baby born in Cities of London and Westminster will live to 88. It doesn’t have to be this way.  

We created a life expectancy postcode ‘look-up’ tool to demonstrate these regional differences.  

Find out the life expectancy where you live, share your result to social media using the hashtag #LivesCutShort, and join the campaign for change.

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...the building blocks for good health start with the very basics of decent housing, education, and safe communities.
Amy Dicks, Policy Manager, The Children's Society
36,000

Human-made air pollution contributes to up to 36,000 deaths every year in the UK.

1 in 5

More than 1 in 5 of us are living in poverty – that’s 13.4 million people in the UK.

3 million

3 million people in England say they always or often feel lonely, putting their health and wellbeing at risk.

CAMPAIGN FAQs
  • Why is life expectancy different in different areas?

    The world around us shapes our health and how long we live – from quality homes that are warm and safe, to stable jobs, clean air, neighbourhoods with green space, and social connections. But access to these building blocks of good health varies across the UK, and right now, things like poverty and poor living conditions are damaging health and wellbeing and cutting lives short.

  • Where did you get the life expectancy data from?

    Health Equals is drawing on data released publicly by the Office of National Statistics. For England, the data covers the years 2015–2019. For Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the data covers the 2017–2019 period. The data has been analysed by the Health Foundation.

    This interactive data tool provides life expectancies related to postcode district level – this is estimated as an average of the life expectancies in the relevant Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs)/ local authorities which lie within a postcode district.

  • Why are you using images of babies in some of your campaign materials?

    Our campaign intends to highlight the health inequalities that people in the UK face from the moment they are born, and who through no fault of their own, could be at risk of poor health because of where they live. But a baby’s life is not predetermined, and if we take the right steps we can change their future prospects for the better.

  • Where can I go for support related to the issues raised by the Lives Cut Short campaign?

    We understand that it is a sensitive matter. Please visit our support page.

  • Why have you highlighted geography, aren't other factors important?

    Our health and wellbeing is not only shaped by where we’re born, but also by protected characteristics (such as our race, sex, age, or if we have a disability), and if we’re part of a marginalised or socially excluded group. We’ve chosen to highlight the impact of where we live on our health, as it shows that inequalities exist, and that things can be better if we make sure that action is taken to prioritise the building blocks of health and wellbeing.

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