Life expectancy is rising but that in return people born now will have to cope with disability or a long-term illness for an extra year compared with those born 30 years ago, researchers have found.
According to figures, the gender gap is also closing, with women losing their traditional advantage in having better health for longer as they enjoy greater life expectancy.
AdvertisementResearchers predict that men born in 2007 will have an average 13.7 years of disability in their life, compared with 12.8 years for those born in 1981. For women, the figures are 17.1 years and 16 years.
Men born in 2007 are likely to spend an even greater proportion of their life in poor health, 8.7 years compared with 6.4 years in 1981.
Women today spend 11 years in poor health compared with 10 years in 1981, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.
However, the proportion of life spent in good health is increasing at a faster rate for men than for women - men have narrowed the traditional gender gap by more than a year.
In 1998 a 20-year-old man could expect to live another 45 years without cardiovascular disease, cancer or diabetes. By 2006 that had fallen to 43.8 disease free years to look forward to. For young women the number of years they could enjoy good health also fell from 49.2 years to 48 years.
The number of people, including youngsters, with the ability to walk up ten steps, walk a quarter mile, stand or sit for 2 hours, and stand, bend or kneel without using special equipment also dropped.
Men in their 20s will spend 5.8 years without basic mobility - up from 3.8 years, while women of the same age are likely to experience 9.8 years without mobility - up from 7.3 years a decade ago.
Researcher Eileen Crimmins said healthier living and medical advances have contributed to the increase in life expectancy.
"We have always assumed that each generation will be healthier and longer lived than the prior one," the Daily Mail quoted Crimmins as saying.
"There is substantial evidence that we have done little to date to eliminate or delay disease while we have prevented death from diseases.
"At the same time, there have been substantial increases in the incidences of certain chronic diseases, specifically, diabetes," Crimmins added.
The study has been published in the Journal Of Gerontology.