It means that men and women born in the past three years will spend 20.4 per cent and 23.1 per cent of their lives in poor health respectively. A new way of measuring life expectancy has effectively added an extra three years of life to both men and women.Traditionally, the ONS report life expectancy in terms of the mean average age of people when they die. Men in the UK are now expected to live for 79.2 years from birth compared to 82.9 years for women on this measure.However, this mean average figure was accompanied for the first time today by a median figure detailing the age by which half of a hypothetical cohort of people would be dead.This measure probably gives a better indication of how long somebody born in a given year is likely to live because the median is less affected by people dying at very old or very young ages.Encouragingly, the new median figure is higher than the mean life expectancy for both men and women, with the figure for men standing at 82.3 years and the figure for women 85.8 years across the UK as a whole.This works out as an additional 3.1 years of life for men and 2.9 years of life for women compared to the mean. Life expectancy increases are drying upLife expectancy increases have plummeted over the past decade with women gaining just 1.6 months in the past five years. Between 2006 and 2011 life expectancy from birth increased by more than a year for men and by nine months for women.The amount of life gained in each subsequent rolling five-year period has dropped consistently with men enjoying just an additional three months of expected life and women just 1.6 months. Chris White, Principal Research Officer at the Office for National Statistics said: “This analysis supports the view that mortality improvements in the UK have slowed somewhat in the second decade of the 21st century.”This is evidenced by the rate of improvement in life expectancy at birth in the UK falling by 75.3 per cent for males and 82.7 per cent for females when comparing the first half of the second decade with the first half of the first decade.”The median has increased at roughly the same rate as the mean for both men and women since 2011.While life expectancy seems to be stalling, the proportion of our lives that are spent in self-reported good health is decreasing. The ONS found that women born between 2014 and 2016 are expected to spend 19.2 years in poor health, up from 18.6 years for women born between 2009-11. For men, the figure increased from 15.8 years to 16.2 years over the same period. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.