Children born in poorer areas of Northamptonshire have a decade less in life expectancy

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Children born in deprived areas of Northamptonshire are expected to have a shorter life expectancy by almost a decade than those born into affluence.

The stark life expectancy gap within the county was revealed in the latest report by Lucy Wightman, the county’s director for public health.

Writing regarding the county’s state of health as recorded in May this year, she said: “A boy born today in the poorer parts of the county has a life expectancy that is 9.4 years lower than one in the most affluent parts of the county, a girl’s life expectancy is 6.1 years lower.

“Both males and females living in the most deprived areas of the county can expect to spend around 13 fewer years in good health compared to those in the wealthiest areas.”

Although the average life expectancy in the county was close to the average, it was the stark difference in deprived areas where Mrs Wightman found the difference ‘substantial’.

Almost half of the gap in life expectancy between the most and least deprived areas of the county was due to excess deaths from heart disease, strokes and cancer, much of which was caused by lifestyle choices

The report adds: “These inequalities often occur due to factors outside the control of the people at the greatest risk, as their social or economic circumstances determine many of the choices available to them.

“There are nearly 120,000 residents (16.3% per cent) living in areas with deprivation. These areas are also more likely to see higher rates of unhealthy behaviours, such as smoking, unhealthy diets and excessive alcohol consumption which then lead to poorer health and wellbeing outcomes.”

Councillors will note the report, as well as any recommendations, at a full Northamptonshire County Council meeting on Thursday (November 22).