18-month life expectancy rise

LIFE expectancy for men in Shetland has increased by nearly one and a half years over the last decade – but its growth rate has been one of the slowest in Scotland.

New figures show that male expectancy at birth between the period of 2014-16 was 77.6 years, while for females it was 82 years.


This marks a 1.4 year average increase for males over the last decade and a 0.7 year increase for women.

The rise on ten years ago is among the lowest in the country, whereas Orkney’s male average has grown by four years to 80.3 years in that time.

Only Dundee City has a lower growth rate (1.1 years) for men, while only two other local authorities have a slower change when it comes to women.

NHS Shetland director of public health Susan Webb said research was ongoing into the slowdown in year-on-year improvements.

“In the UK and in Shetland, people on average are living longer than ever before. A Scottish man can expect to live to 77 years, a Scottish woman 81 years,” she said.


“Recently, the year-on-year improvements in life expectancy have slowed down across the UK, including the north of Scotland. The reason for this slowdown is under investigation by universities and other academic institutions.

“Life expectancy varies between men and women and between different areas. In addition to having shorter life expectancies, people from less well-off communities are also more likely to spend longer periods of their lives in poor health.”

Webb will present her annual report at today’s (12 December) NHS board meeting and it will focus on how mental wellbeing is as important as physical health.

It also “highlights risk factors for poorer health which include a poor diet, being overweight, not getting enough exercise, drinking alcohol and smoking.

“These risk factors contribute to heart disease, cancer, type two diabetes, stroke and other conditions that shorten our life expectancy and shorten the amount of time that we live in good health.”