NEW life expectancy statistics have given North Yorkshire its cleanest-ever bill of health.

According to the Office for National Statistics, male babies born between 2002 and 2004 in York can expect to live to the grand old age of 77.3 - four months more than the national average.

Women fare even better, with a life expectancy of 82.1 - more than a year longer than average.

The totals are the highest-ever recorded in the area and, by contrast, North Yorkshire boys and girls born in 1901 were lucky if they made it to 50.

The rest of the county also scored highly and the director of public health for the Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale Primary Care Trust, Dr Jeffrie Strang, said: "This is good news for North Yorkshire, and it reflects changes in public health practice, but the key is living in a pretty affluent part of the country.

"Changes are happening - but not in all social groups. The key actions to improve life expectancy involve eating healthily, tackling obesity, taking more activity and stopping smoking."