Essex: New statistics reveal county’s health inequalities

NEW statistics outlining the disparities in health among people in Essex have been revealed.

They include figures on child obesity, diabetes and life expectancy which can vary greatly depending on which area of the county you live in.

For example, a baby boy born in Tendring in 2008-10 can expect to live until the age of 79, whereas a baby girl born in Colchester has a life expectancy of 83.

The data was compiled by the Department of Health which published health profiles for all local authorities in the country.

It found that more than 20% of children aged 10 and 11 living in Tendring are obese, while in Colchester the figure is 16%.

The percentage of people diagnosed with diabetes is also much higher in Tendring (7.35%) compared to Colchester (4.7%).

Cases of skin cancer in certain areas of the county also exceed the national average. In Colchester there are 27 cases per 100,000 people aged under 75 and in Tendring there are 25. In England the average is 13.6.

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However, overall Essex performed better than the national average, including in areas such as life expectancy, child obesity and early deaths caused by heart disease.

Health chiefs said the imbalances are down to socio-economic factors which impact on health.

Director of Public Health for Essex County Council Dr Mike Gogarty, said: “The difference in figures in the health profiles reflect a broad range of factors that impact on the health of a local population. The reason some of the statistics are worse in Tending is associated with factors such as a higher level of deprivation in the area, reflected in factors like unemployment and children in poverty, made worse by poor performance at GCSE. “Poor lifestyle choices around breastfeeding, obesity and physical activity also have an impact on health such as diabetes. In Essex Public Health are working to try and address these issues and have had some success around areas such as breastfeeding and ensuring best treatment for those who have diabetes.

“However, influencing some of these factors sit outside the traditional remit of the NHS and it is for this reason that HM Government health reforms see the responsibility for improving public health moving to Local Authorities.

“The future vision for public health is for all people in Essex to enjoy equally improved health and quality of life wherever they live and whoever they are. The transfer of Public Health to ECC gives us the best opportunity we have ever had address this.”

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