Boys are catching up with girls in the health stakes, figures have shown.

A baby girl born in 2014 could expect to live a healthy life for 64 years - just down from 64.2 years for those born between 2009 and 2011.

In the meantime, a boy born in 2014 can look forward to 63.4 years of health, an improvement on those born between 2009-11 who should notch up 63.2 healthy years.

Overall life expectancy for a child born between 2012 and 2014 was 79.5 for a boy and 83.2 for a girl.


The analysis, carried out by the Office for National Statistics, explained that 'over time, the gap between males and females has narrowed'.

The report added: 'Despite males expecting to live shorter lives on average, they can expect to spend a higher proportion of their lives in good health.'

Male life expectancy has been going up since the 1980s because of a fall in drinking and smoking, and a widespread switch from manual labour to office jobs.

At the same time, high numbers of women have swapped lives as housewives for careers, financial responsibility, and the burden of juggling child-rearing with work.

There have also been increases in drinking and smoking among women, and pregnancies over the age of 35 have almost doubled since 1990.

The statistics show both sexes are better off in southern England. In wealthy Wokingham, a man born in 2014 can expect 70.5 years in good health compared to 55 for a man born in Blackpool. And women born in Richmond upon Thames can expect 72.2 years in good health, compared to only 54.4 for their counterparts in Manchester.