Life expectancy gains among women have stalled because of a rise in obesity and unhealthy lifestyles, research suggests.
Although female EU residents live on average five-and-a-half years longer than European men, the gap between the sexes is narrowing, according to a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Women born in the UK between 2011 and 2016 are expected to die in the same year as men.
“This may be linked to growing risk factors like obesity, a lack of physical activity and diabetes,” the authors said.
The findings revealed women born in the UK in 1980 can expect to live for 76.2 years on average, compared to just 70.2 years for men.
From 1980, a man’s life expectancy rose more or less year-on-year, peaking at 79.5 in 2014.
It then dipped slightly to 79.2 the following year, before rising back to 70.4 in 2016, which is the most recent data available.
But a woman’s lifespan has been more sporadic and increased steadily from 76.2 in 1980 to 79 for those born in 1992 before dropping to 78.9 the following year.
Although it picked up again to 79.5 in 1994, it then decreased to 79.3 in 1995 before recovering back to 79.5 the next year.
A woman’s life expectancy then increased steadily again to 80.6 for those born in the UK in 2002, before dropping to 80.5 the next year, and rising to 83 in 2011.
After dropping as low as 82.8 for those born in 2012 and 2015, it then recovered once again to 83 in 2016, according to the research reported by the Daily Mail.
Women across Europe live on average more than five years longer than men, however the difference in life expectancy between the sexes has being decreasing since 2000.
Although women live longer, the difference in disability-free years between males and females living in the EU is narrow at 81% and 77%, respectively.
Women are thought to spend more of their lives in ill-health because more cases go reported due to them being more likely to visit their doctors.
Heart disease remains the leading cause of mortality, killing more than 1.9 million people across the EU in 2015 alone. In second place, cancer caused 1.32 million fatalities in the EU in 2015.