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People in richest areas have 19 more years of good health: Report
September 12, 2018
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LONDON: People in the richest areas of England have 19 more years of good health than those in the poorest areas, according to a new report.

While average life expectancy has reached 83.2 years for women and 79.6 years for men, there are “stubborn inequalities” between different parts of the country, says Public Health England (PHE).

Those in the most deprived areas have higher death rates for heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases and cancer, partly as a result of smoking and obesity problems.

Children are twice as likely to be born with low birthweight and more than three times as likely to suffer tooth decay.

“Inequalities in health undermine not only the health of the people but also our economy,” said Duncan Selbie, chief executive at PHE.

“As we work to develop the NHS long term plan, we must set the ambition high.

“If done right, with prevention at its centrepiece, the payoff of a healthier society and more sustainable NHS will be huge.”

Women dying earlier

The Health Profile for England, released by PHE on Tuesday, also reveals women are dying earlier in the UK than in most EU countries.

UK women rank 18th out of 28 for life expectancy while UK men fared better at 10th.

In England women spend 19.3 years, or just over 23 per cent of their lives, in poor health, compared to 16.2 years (around 20 per cent) for men.

Low back and neck pain and skin diseases – including dermatitis, acne and psoriasis – are the two leading causes of morbidity for men and women.

Hearing and sight loss also rank highly for both sexes.

Common illnesses

These common illnesses and disabilities are increasingly important because they cause a significant burden to health and care services, said Professor John Newton, director of health improvement at PHE.

“The NHS needs to respond to these changes,” he warned.

“In many ways it needs to respond more quickly than anytime in its history, because the speed of the change in these data, in the epidemiology is really quite remarkable.”

The Health Profile for England, described as the most comprehensive picture of health in England today, also predicts that only 10 per cent of the population will be smoking by 2023.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s, which are already the leading cause of death in women, is likely to overtake heart disease as the leading cause of death for men by 2020.

By 2031 it is expected that more than two million people will be aged 85 and over, as the baby boomers born after Second World War move into this age group.

The number of people with diabetes is expected to increase from just under four million in 2017 to almost five million in 2035.

The Independent

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