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Study: UK among unhealthiest of W. Europe nations

Tuesday - 3/5/2013, 5:51am  ET

LONDON (AP) -- A new study of national health rates has produced "startling" results for the United Kingdom, and they're not encouraging.

Research published in the journal Lancet found that from 1990 to 2010, despite six decades of free medical care and widespread health campaigns, Britons are among the unhealthiest people in Western Europe.

The researchers say Britain is failing to address underlying health risks including rising rates of high blood pressure, obesity and drug and alcohol abuse. They compared the U.K. with 15 other Western European countries in addition to Australia, Canada and the U.S.

In terms of years of life lost to health conditions, Britain ranked just above last place for serious respiratory infections, preterm birth complications and breast cancer.

Overall, the U.K. was 12th for healthy life expectancy, at 68.6 years. The United States came in 17th out of 19 countries while Spain topped the charts.

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