October 24th, 2016

Health timebomb warning as residents lead longer but not healthier lives

Health timebomb warning as residents lead longer but not healthier lives Health timebomb warning as residents lead longer but not healthier lives

WARWICKSHIRE is a ticking health timebomb.

People in the county are living longer but not necessarily healthier lives, according to the annual ‘Health Profile’ published by Public Health England (PHE).

Life expectancy across Warwickshire for both men and women has been increasing steadily over the past few decades – thanks to factors ranging from people giving up smoking to eating healthier – and now stands at around 80 for men and nearly 84 for women.

But the number leading longer healthy lives varies significantly across the county.

Men in more affluent areas of Warwickshire can expect to live to nearly 84 – 72 of which in reasonably good health, while men in more deprived areas have a life expectancy of 74 – but can only expect around 55 of them to be lived free of serious illness.

The picture is the same for women, with those in affluent areas enjoying 73 years of good health during an average lifespan of 88 years, while those in a deprived area may only have 55 years good health during 80 years of life.

And the report says the county’s population of over 85s is set to rocket by over 150 per cent by 2039 – rising to nearly 38,000 and accounting for over six per cent of the entire population – putting increased pressure on already stretched NHS services.

The NHS in Warwickshire is currently spending £44.2million annually dealing with smoking-related health issues; £35.7million tackling obesity; £29.8million on alcohol-related problems; and £9.4million dealing with the fall out of physical inactivity.

Health chiefs in Warwickshire maintain prevention is the best cure to dealing with the future well-being of the county’s population.

Dr John Linnane, Warwickshire County Council director of Public Health, said: ” Benjamin Franklin once said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” summing up public health and its potential in both saving lives and achieving value for money.

“In Warwickshire, we have led improvements in a number of key public health areas – physical activity in adults has improved;  smoking during pregnancy is now below the England average; and the number of Dementia Friends in Warwickshire has increased to over 11,000.

“These achievements need to be recognised and celebrated. However we must not be complacent. We need to continue to work collaboratively to reduce preventable causes of ill health.”

Council leader and Local Government Association wellbeing spokesperson Coun Izzi Seccombe added it was vital to help people lead healthier lifestyles.

She said:  “We need to move away from a focus on treating sickness to actively promoting health. Investing in prevention saves money for other parts of the public sector by reducing demand for hospital, health and social care services and ultimately improves the public’s health.”