LIFE expectancy in West Dunbartonshire is among the worst in Scotland, with women living shorter lives than anywhere else in the whole country.

For the fourth year running, West Dunbartonshire has had the lowest female life expectancy in Scotland, at 78.8 years, compared to East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire, which has the joint highest expectancy, at 83.5.

The Scottish average for women is 81.1 - more than two years higher than the WDC area.

Men in the area are also dying sooner than the majority of other Scots, with life expectancy the third lowest of all local authority areas.

On average, men live for 74.7 years, behind Glasgow and Dundee at 73.4 and 74.5 respectively, with the average for the whole country currently sitting at 77.1.

Orkney currently boasts the highest life expectancy among men, with 80.3 - a staggering 5.3 years more than West Dunbartonshire.

Life expectancy in Scotland has been declining since 2012.

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In a report submitted alongside the findings, the NRS details the reasons behind the decline.

It said: “Recently, National Registers of Scotland have been involved in a collaborative project with a range of health organisations to investigate why life expectancy has stopped increasing.

“We found that since 2012-2014, there has been a slowdown in the rate of improvement of deaths from heart disease, especially in people aged between 55 and 74.

“There has also been an increase in the number of younger people aged 35 to 54 dying from drugs and in people over 75 dying from dementia.”

Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie has called for unity from public authorities to help the crisis.

She said: “It is disappointing that life expectancy in West Dunbartonshire is one of the worst in the country. We know that poverty is linked to life expectancy and it is clear that the high levels of poverty in West Dunbartonshire are contributing to people dying earlier than they should.

“It is clear that all agencies must work together, urgently, to address the underlying causes of the shorter life expectancy rates in West Dunbartonshire. It is disappointing that the rates of child poverty have gone up under this Scottish Government and UK Government. We need to turn this around and this should be a priority for both governments.”

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A spokeswoman for West Dunbartonshire Council said: “Life expectancy and poverty are inextricably linked and while the health of our communities continues to improve, many residents still have to contend with the long-term root causes of these stark differences in life expectancy.

“There is no single solution, and improving these figures will take time but we are doing everything we can by working with our community planning partners to address underlying social and economic factors including deprivation and generational health inequalities.

“We are investing in support to help our residents to access jobs, education and training; ensuring they access their full benefit entitlement including the new benefits provided by Social Security Scotland; improving housing and building new community facilities such as Clydebank Leisure Centre and new housing for those most in need.”

“We are also working with communities to improve physical and social wellbeing; through walking groups and local volunteering opportunities.”

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West Dunbartonshire MP Martin Docherty-Hughes said: “Tackling health inequalities is one of the biggest challenges facing our communities.

“And whilst it’s important to note that people here are living longer than ever before, life expectancy rates are still much too far behind wealthier areas.“The evidence is clear that health inequality is linked to wealth inequality, and eEfforts to address the root causes of poverty will remain challenging for as long as we are subject to UK government welfare cuts and austerity.”