Two-minute train ride – but men who live near a train station die ten years earlier

Shocking figures have shown that life expectancy for men drops by a decade between two stations just minutes apart on the same line. A report by Birmingham’s director of public health put the average life expectancy of men living near Chester Road station, close to Walmley and Sutton Coldfield, at 83 years.

But just one stop on the Cross-City line, a whole decade has been shaved off for men living near Erdington station – a journey that takes just two minutes from Chester Road. Life expectancy near Erdington was 73 years, which was also significantly lower than the England average of around 79 years for males.

Continuing on the same line past Erdington and into Birmingham city centre, the picture remains grim. Male life expectancy at Aston and Duddeston was just 72, while it rose to 77 at Gravelly Hill.

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But in the opposite direction, after Chester Road and at stations closer to Sutton Coldfield, the figures improved dramatically. Life expectancy at stations such as Wylde Green, Four Oaks and Sutton Coldfield itself, all also on the Cross-City line, varied from 82 to 84.

The report, which explored changes between the 2011 and 2021 census in Birmingham, was carried out by director of public health, Dr Justin Varney. At a city council cabinet meeting this week, he told councilors Birmingham’s life expectancy was “declining faster” than the rest of the country.

“When we look at what’s causing the decline in life expectancy and why we’re different, part of that is Covid,” he continued. “We have been hit harder by Covid because of our basic health position in the city.

“But then a lot of it is about heart disease. These are preventable diseases caused by inactivity, smoking and diet.”