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Southern England Far Healthier Than the North

Kensington and Chelsea in the southern part of England register the lowest number of early deaths from cancer in the entire region, the lowest levels of obesity and the longest life expectancy.

By contrast Manchester - 200 miles to the north - has the lowest life expectancy for men. Near neighbour Liverpool was worst for women.

Those in both cities live, on average, nearly ten years less than residents of the wealthy London borough.

Statistics on longevity, heart disease, alcohol-related problems and cancer all show that people living in the south of England enjoy a healthier life.

The health profiles, compiled by the Government, are designed to help local councils and the Health Service work out where they need to concentrate resources.

The figures show men in Kensington and Chelsea live to an average of 82.2 years, well above England's average of 76.9.

Women can expect to live to 86.2 years, exceeding the national average of 81.1 years.

The lowest life expectancy levels for men were in Manchester, at 72.5 years and for women in neighbouring Liverpool, 78.1 years.

Residents of the Chiltern council area in Buckinghamshire, which includes Amersham and Chesham, have the lowest number of smoking deaths with 147 per 100,000, while Knowsley in Merseyside had the highest with 366 deaths per 100,000.

A North-South divide is also evident in terms of the health problems caused by over-drinking.

The number of hospital stays because of alcohol were just 85.6 per 100,000 in St Albans, Hertfordshire - but in Liverpool it is almost eight times higher at 652.4 per 100,000. The national average for drink-related hospital admissions was 247.7.

The figures also reveal the proportion of individuals 16 and over who binge drink. Newcastle rates the highest with 29.2 per cent of and the lowest is 8.8 per cent in East Dorset. The national average is 18.2 per ce nt.

Last year was the first year the profiles were compiled, but this year they go into unprecedented detail.

Dr Ruth Hussey, regional director of public health for the North West, said: "We hope that by highlighting how and why individuals in the region continue to experience poorer health it will prompt people to take action to improve health for everyone in the North West.

"There are many factors that influence our wellbeing and quality of life. Health services play an important part for some health problems; however, there are also many other actions that can help to improve wellbeing."

She called for continued action on housing, poverty, crime, unemployment, education and the environment to be aligned to support healthier lifestyles.

It is only when it comes to the obesity that the geographic trend is bucked somewhat, although social deprivation still played a role.

The lowest levels are, once again, in Kensington and Chelsea, where just 14.6 per cent of adults are considered as obese.

However, the east coast town of Boston in Lincolnshire is home to England's fattest people, where one-third of adults (31 per cent) are considered clinically obese.

The national figure is 21.8 per cent.

A Department for Health spokesman said: "It's fair to say these figures show the South is healthier than the North in general, but this has been known for some time. The North East has particular challenges to face.

"Equally you can see for the first time that within an apparently healthy local authority there are pockets of deprivation and there are areas where work needs to be done."


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