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Shortchanged: Why British Life Expectancy Declines

HARTLEPOOL, England – Brits live no longer than before. Just ask Callum Hills.

His father died of a heart attack last year at the age of 52. Mr. Hills had seen him lying on the ground in the middle of the night and is still haunted by his memory today.

"I always have dreams, and he's in them," said Mr. Hills, a thoughtful and articulate 23-year-old.

As the Brexit uprising in Westminster draws attention with terrible predictions of possible chaos, food shortages and recession, discouraging trends are already evident in the contested cities across the country.

For the first time in modern history, the increase in life expectancy in the UK has stalled – for men to 79.2 years and for women to 82.9 years for 2015 to 2017. That's better than in the US, but Britain slips on the ground ranks in Western Europe.

In the UK in 1841, life expectancy was about 40 for men and 42 for women, and its rise in improvements in infant mortality, hygiene, nutrition and health care became a symbol of progress. In recent years, the figures have generally improved by about three years every ten years.

But not anymore.

Alcohol and drug abuse, malnutrition, obesity, smoking and physical inactivity took their toll and increased the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Elderly people die prematurely, their conditions deteriorate due to isolation and depression, experts say.

Many of the problems, they say, stem from the government's austerity program launched after the financial crisis of 2008, devouring funding for social programs, transportation, and other things that could counteract negative trends.

Chaos in Parliament over Brexit, which has prevented efforts to tackle growing problems, has probably not helped.

The improvement in life expectancy had slowed down for a long time. "2010 was a turning point in the long-term mortality rate," said the King's Health Research Institute. Across the country, mortality rates were higher in the first few months of 2018 than in any other quarter since 2009.

Among British cities, Hartlepool (pronounced HART-Lee Pool), a proud seafaring and industrial city, is home to Deindustrialization was hit hard, but it suffered one of the biggest declines in life expectancy. It has the second highest stroke rate in its region, its drug-related mortality rate has recently tripled, and its smoking rate is well above the national average. Statistics on deaths from cancer and cardiovascular, hepatic and respiratory diseases are worrying.

The average life expectancy of men in Hartlepool was 76 years and one month from 2015 to 2017, which is one and a half years less than in 2011-2013. For women, the number of 81 years and four months in the most recent statistics rose slightly, but is still lower than in 2011-2013 or 2013-2015.

In the poverty pockets of the city some people live very early. Gemma Sampson, the pastor of St. Aidan's Church, said that since her opening in 2017, two regular users of the Food Bank of the Church have died.

One was a 56-year-old man who was lying undetected in his home for six days. The other was a homeless woman who had slept in a parking lot, got help from the property, but disappeared and was later found dead. She was 43 years old.

Such cases are extreme, but the broader trend has distorted long-term assumptions. In the end, one of the UK's most beloved, if creaky, institutions is the National Health Service, which many consider to be an efficient healthcare provider, especially compared to the United States.

But some wonder if this might be the case Be inadvertently a part of the problem. The N.H.S. focuses more on the acute care than prevention, mental health and the early detection of cancer and other diseases. Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology at University College London and Director of the Institute of Health Equity, emphasizes the tendency to favor medical procedures over efforts to combat obesity, smoking and drug and alcohol dependence.

"We must finance our NHS, but we also talk about public health," said Professor Marmot. "The causes of premature death are an unhealthy diet, alcohol intake, lack of exercise, etc. But the causes of the causes are the conditions under which people are born, grow, live, work, and grow old. "

Various factors affect life expectancy, including an individual's genetic makeup, inherited addiction or illnesses such as diabetes and behavior

But also the way families, communities and governments shape or mitigate these tendencies, is important.

The turning point in the 2010 mortality statistics coincided with the aftermath of the financial crisis as the UK curbed public spending.

Danny Dorling, professor of geography at Oxford University, argues that "the context of austerity is not easy to correlate, but incredibly strong."

Hartlepool's representative in parliament, Mike Hill, agrees. "There is no doubt that austerity has hit Hartlepool and there is a connection with life expectancy," said Mr. Hill, a member of the opposition Labor Party.

Hartlepool had to cut around 20 percent of Hartlepool's budget, 100 million pounds, about 120 million dollars, and about 500 employees. Local officials say that the city has plunged into reserves and increased local property taxes, but some cuts to programs have been made.

Others see austerity as an aggravating factor in a complex picture of unhealthy lifestyles characterized by poverty, lack of opportunity and hopelessness. [19659002] In Hartlepool, the expected life expectancy in the most deprived areas was much shorter than in the richest areas – 11.7 years less for men and 10.2 years less for women, according to the health profile of the community in 2018 .

] The food bank at St. Aidan's Church is helping people like Shelene Brown (38), who said they were unemployed and had no money left in the bank one week before their next social welfare.

Your diet will be as it was: pasta, bread and some canned products, filled in two plastic bags, without fresh vegetables or fruits.

Slightly, with delicate features and dyed red hair, Ms. Brown has fought against heroin addiction and said that at t she added she suffers from anxiety, depression and asthma attacks that have recently taken her to the hospital.

Less than half of Hartlepool residents eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables and fruit consumption is among the lowest in England. This partly reflects the lifestyle choices: popular fast food options include options such as "Parmo" – breaded, fried chicken with bechamel sauce and Parmesan cheese – which contains up to 2,000 calories.

However, healthy food is often more expensive than calorie-containing ready meals. And when times are tough, cheap drink or drugs provide a temporary escape and multiply what Professor Marmot calls "deaths of despair."

Ian Jennings, 47, from the Oxford Road Baptist Church's Help and Advice Center, who does not take drugs, is never far from their effects.

In the once respectable street where he grew up and is still alive, some houses are boarded up and he has seen men armed with machetes.

"People still have a decision to make," Jennings said. "They still have to make that choice, but with no money whirling around, they have nothing to live for, nothing to look forward to, they can not afford to go downtown to have a drink, so they drink in the house or take drugs. "

As a child, Mr. Jennings remembers having eaten fresh vegetables from his father's garden. "I tried to become healthier. I know I'm overweight, "he said. "What people are going to do because they do not have the money, they think, I go out and buy fish cakes or kebabs."

can also affect life expectancy as older people remain isolated and depressed.

"As soon as someone stops visiting, many old people give up," he said. "As wages in the UK have fallen so dramatically in real terms, the cost of fuel or train tickets can affect visiting relatives."

Austerity measures have also affected younger people. The Belle Vue Municipal Sports and Youth Center has impressive facilities, but can not offer a program for children with behavioral problems after losing about one-third of its resources and about half of its full-time and part-time workers. A proposal to promote and organize sport at 19 local schools was rejected.

"These are the things that keep young people from antisocial behavior," said Alan Clark, who attended the center as a 5-year-old, and now it is the chairman of his board of trustees. Under austerity measures, he added: "The social fabric of the nation is being destroyed."

The community spirit at Hartlepool remains strong, and Mr. Hills was overwhelmed when the locals raised more than £ 2,000 for his father's funeral.

] Mr. Hills looks fit, is a running club member, has a job as a youth worker and tries to quit smoking. But even one of his aunts died prematurely at the age of 40, and he thinks it would be better to move away.

"I have to go," he said, "because I want to be over 50 years old."

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