17 Apr 2013

Drop in smoking has improved life expectancy

6:46 am on 17 April 2013

A health specialist says life expectancy for Maori has improved because fewer are smoking.

Statistics New Zealand has released figures collected from 2010 to 2012, which show the gap between Maori and non Maori has narrowed to about seven years.

Maori men can expect to live to 72.8 years, and Maori women to 76.5 years.

An Auckland University specialist in Maori health and tobacco research, Dr Marewa Glover, says there has been a significant reduction in the number of Maori who smoke.

But she says more work is still needed to improve nutrition to bring down obesity and diabetes rates.