PEOPLE in Dorset have longer-than-average life expectancy, a report has found.

The Health Profile for England report is the first time Public Health England (PHE) has used its wealth of population health data to give an overall picture of the health of the country.

Life expectancy in England has now reached 79.5 for males and 83.1 for females. However, much of the extra time is spent in poor health.

The average life expectancy for men in Dorset is 81.3 – higher than any other area in the South West – while the average for Dorset women is 84.6.

According to the report, people in the richest areas of the country enjoy nearly 20 more years in good health than people in the poorest areas.

The average number of years a man lives in good health in Dorset is 68, while for women it is 65.2.

Deb Lapthorne, centre director for PHE South West, said: “Good public health is not defined by health policy alone. Our health profiles show a high-quality education, a well-designed and warm home, a good job and a community to belong to are just as important.

“The more we consider the impact of all policies on population health, the sooner we can focus on preventing poor health instead of only dealing with its consequences, especially for those from the most deprived communities.”

Nationally, the report also found diabetes makes the top 10 causes of ill health and disability for the first time. And the two biggest risk factors behind levels of ill health are excess weight and high blood sugar.