Premature death rates among women in Britain are on a par with those in Slovenia and Albania, a study has shown.
Men in the UK fare better, according to a worldwide analysis of mortality between 1970 and 2010. Their risk of dying before the age of 60 is typical of that for western Europe.
Scientists calculated the chances of people who have just turned 15 dying before their 60th birthday, using census data and death records.
The results showed that while overall death rates had fallen around the world, in many countries they were higher today than 40 years ago.
Two of the chief reasons for worsening trends in some regions were said to be HIV/Aids in Africa and social upheaval in the former Soviet Union.
The five countries with the lowest death rates for men and women today were Iceland, Sweden, Malta, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
In Iceland, 44 out of 1,000 women were expected to die before 60, and 65 per 1,000 men.
Figures for the UK, published in The Lancet medical journal, were 58 women and 93 men per 1,000.
Mortality for both sexes in Britain had almost halved between 1970 and 2010. However, British women today were not much better off than those in Slovenia and Albania, whose death rates were 56 and 62 per 1,000 respectively.
In western Europe, only Danish and Belgian women were more likely to die before 60 than British women. Their mortality figures were 65 per 1,000 and 60.