Downside of longer life is years of poorer health; Suffering extended despite the fact people are living longer.
Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
WE are living longer than we used to - but we are also likely to spend more of our lives suffering from poor health.
The Office for National Statistics has published new figures giving their estimated life expectancy for people in different parts of the country.
A boy born today in the West Midlands can expect to live to the grand old age of 78.9 years, on average.
But healthy life expectancy for a boy born today is only 62.4 years - leaving 16 years of poor health.
This has actually fallen as a boy born in 2009 could expect to enjoy 62.5 years of good health.
It means today's children, as a general rule, can expect to live a little longer than the ones that came before them - but to spend a longer time in poor health.
It is a similar picture for women. A girl born in the West Midlands is expected to have a life expectancy, on average, of 82.9 years.
But their healthy life expectancy is 62.5 years. That's actually fallen from the estimate for children born in 2009, who are expected to enjoy 62.8 years of healthy life.
It means a girl born today in the West Midlands may, on average, live for 20 years in poor health.
The National Audit Office explains it this way: "There has been an expansion of morbidity (the number of years in poor health) for both males and females as there were larger increases in life expectancy compared with healthy life expectancy.
"This results in an increase in the number of years lived in 'not good' health."
In the West Midlands, people in Solihull can expect to enjoy the longest period of time in good health.
Men have a healthy life expectancy of 63.6 years and women can expect 66.8 years of good health, on average.
In Birmingham, healthy life expectancy for men is 58 years and for women it is 58.8 years.
The healthiest region to live is the south east.
A boy born today in the South East can expect to live 80.5 years on average, including 65.9 years in good health.
Girls in the south east will live for 84 years on average, and their healthy life expectancy is 66.6 years.
This may be because there is less poverty in the south east. The National Audit Office says there is a "pattern of inequality in healthy life expectancy at birth, whereby the estimate falls in line with the increasing deprivation".
<B A woman can expect to live on average for 83 years but the last 21 will be in poor health