England's life expectancy increases

Whilst none of us like considering our own mortality, a new report by Public Health England, reported in today’s Guardian, has revealed that England’s life expectancy has taken a significant upturn since the 1990s, adding an extra five years to our mortal coil. Twenty-five years ago men’s life expectancy in England was lagging behind many countries including Canada, France, Norway, the Netherlands and Spain. By 2013, however, England was doing better than all those countries, with men living for an average of 79.5 years, a gain of 6.4 years. The increase for women was slightly more modest but still good: the average national life expectancy increased by 4.4 years to 83.2 years, equalling or surpassing most of the 18 western nations including Australia, Norway, Canada and the US, except for Finland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal.

The good news is that early deaths and debilitating ill health are being reduced significantly. The bad news is that this has not been matched by declines in disability and illness; resulting in people living longer with disease. However, the study found that 40 per cent of ill health in older people was a result of lifestyle; predominately diet and therefore fixable.

Health professionals are convinced that by helping us cut down on couch-potato lifestyles, junky diets, booze and fags, England could become one of the healthiest countries in the world. For marketers a growing life expectancy has implications in terms of how to target this rapidly growing group of ‘survivors’, particularly those that live with and financially support (and therefore exert influencer over) younger generations of the family.

If this demographic is to become more of a focus for marketers, which pundits are predicting, inevitably cases of accidental mis-targeting of the deceased will also grow. Due care must be taken and procedures put into place so that when someone passes away they are immediately removed from marketing databases to spare the feelings of the families left behind.