Massive investments in health services have largely improved the life expectancy in the UAE – and women emerged as the main beneficiary, according to the United Nations.

In 1990, life expectancy in the UAE stood at 70.5 years while in 1999 it grew to 74.8 years to rank second to Kuwait in the six-nation GCC, the United Nations Deve-lopment Programme (UNDP) said in a study published in the Public Affairs bulletin of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's office.

It showed women had a life expectancy of 77.8 years in 1999 while men far lagged behind, with an average of 73.5 years.

Women were also luckier in other GCC states, with an average life of 78.4 years in Kuwait compared with males' life expectancy of 74.3 years.

The average stood at 75.6 years for women and 71.4 years for men in Bahrain, at 72.7 for females and 70.3 for males in Saudi Arabia, 72.4 for females and 69.5 for males in Oman, and 71 years for women and 68.5 years for men in Qatar.

The study also covered Iran, where women live longer as well, with a life expectancy of 69.4 years compared with men's average of 67.7 years.

In infant mortality, the UAE ranked first in the GCC with an average of eight to 1,000. Kuwait came second with 11 to 1,000.