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Male life expectancy increases to 78

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Life expectancy for men has increased by almost three years in the last decade, closing the gender gap with women, government figures showed today.

The improvement means boys born in England between 2007 and 2009 can expect to reach the age of 78, while girls are likely to live just past their 82nd birthday - a difference of four years.

Almost 10 years ago, the gap in life expectancy was nearly five years, with boys expecting to live to 75.3 while girls were likely to reach 80.1.

The Department of Health statistics show male life expectancy has increased by 3.7% since 1998-2000 compared with a 2.5% increase in female life expectancy.

Mortality rates in England also fell in 2007-2009, with death rates dropping by more than 22% in men and almost 18% in women.

The figures showed fewer people under the age of 75 died from cancer between 2007 and 2009 compared with 10 years ago, while the number of deaths from circulatory diseases including strokes almost halved in both men and women.

Deaths from circulatory diseases among women were less than half the rate for men, falling to 43.2 per 100,000 compared with 99.4 per 100,000 for males, the report said.

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