The obesity scenario seems a matter of concern in England, reveals the health profiles of local authorities and regions, published by the Department of Health and the Association of Public Health Observatories. According to the survey, people from the West Midlands are the fattest in Europe.
The report reveals 29 per cent of those living in and around Birmingham are classed as obese, which is double the European average of 14 per cent.
AdvertisementWhile London had the lowest rate of obesity in the UK at 18 per cent, this was still higher than the worst region in Sweden at 16 per cent. The highest rate for any region in Germany was 19 per cent.
It compared all regions across 27 countries in Europe using 37 health indicators in 2006.
It found that all regions of the UK had more teenage mothers than in most other European countries - but the North East of England came out the worst with 2.7 per cent of all births to mothers aged under 18.
The UK also performed badly on female cancer survival rates with the South East of England reporting 185.1 female cancer deaths per 100,000 compared to the European median of 139.5.
The Profiles use key health indicators to capture a picture of the nation's health down to local level, providing areas across England with information to improve their population's health. This year's data also includes new information on child health inequalities.
On the positive side, people in England can expect to live longer and healthier lives, but the health gap between the most affluent and most deprived wards within each local authority remains unacceptable.
Other findings show that:
Deaths from smoking-related diseases continue to fall across England, to 225 per 100,000 (aged 35+) in 2004-06 from 234 in 2003-05.
The death rate from smoking in the local authority with the lowest rate (139 per 100,000 in East Dorset) is less than half that in the local authority with the highest death rate from smoking (355 per 100,000 in Knowsley)
In general, smoking is still causing a higher rate of death in the north of England compared to the south.
Life expectancy from birth continues to improve across England for both men and women, but there is still a wide variation across the country.
Men in the local authority with the highest life expectancy (Kensington and Chelsea, 83.1 years) can expect to live 10 years longer than those in the local authority with the lowest life expectancy (Manchester, 73 years).
Women in the local authority with the highest life expectancy (Kensington and Chelsea, 87.2 years) can expect to live 9 years longer than those in the local authority with the lowest life expectancy (Liverpool, 78.3 years).
Several indicators of children's health presented in this year's data for the first time show that:
Breastfeeding rates are at a national average of 69%:
Lambeth knows that 'breast is best', with a rate of 91% of mothers who initiate breastfeeding. Knowsley come bottom with a rate of 33%.
High quality PE and school sport amongst 5-16 year olds for at least two hours per week reached 86%:
Many more children in Malvern Hills get at least two hours of high quality PE per week than those in Newcastle-under-Lyme (99% compared to 63% respectively).
The Association of Public Health Observatories , with the Department of Health, have also published a companion "Health inequalities Intervention tool", that enables every English local authority to model the effect of four high impact interventions on their life expectancy gap. The four interventions are: smoking cessation, treating undiagnosed high blood pressure , statin prescribing to reduce blood cholesterol and reducing infant mortality.
Public Health Minister, Dawn Primarolo said:
"Inequalities around the country are stark, but the NHS and Local Authorities can use these profiles to target local health hotspots with effective measures to make a real difference. We recently renewed our commitment to tackling these issues with the Health Inequalities: Progress and Next Steps report. I am confident that we can confront the issues facing communities head on and make health inequalities everyone's business."
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