BRITISH women spend more time in ill health than men, figures show.
They are likely to be sick for almost a quarter of their life (23.2 per cent) compared with just a fifth (20.4 per cent) for blokes.
A typical British woman will spend her last 19.3 years with medical complaints and men 16.2 years.
Life expectancy in the UK has been rising at a slower rate than previously — but forecasts show it may start to fall over the next few years.
Women are already spending fewer years in good health than they were just five years ago.
Low back and neck pain are the biggest cause of ill health in old age. Skin diseases, loss of hearing and eyesight, and depression are the next most common problems.
And UK women are dying younger than most in Europe because of their poor lifestyles, the figures from Public Health England show.
Women here can expect to live for 83.1 years. But a separate study shows average life expectancy for women across all 28 EU countries is 83.6, with Spain top at 86.3.
British men can expect to live to 79.5, above the 78.2 EU average.
British women also fare badly on premature deaths – those before the age of 75.
Many of these are due to cancer, heart disease and stroke, which are linked to smoking, boozing and junk food diets.
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Some 51.8 per cent of British women are overweight, compared with an EU average of 44.7 per cent.
Prof John Newton, from Public Health England, said: “It is of concern we have worse outcomes than European countries.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be as healthy as anywhere in Europe.”