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North Yorkshire Health Concerns

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12:00am 22nd August 2012

There's health concerns for those living in deprived areas of North Yorkshire.

The county's new Health and Wellbeing Board says death rates are worst there.

Research shows men die on average 6.3 years earlier than those in affluent areas.

For women, it's 4.6 years earlier.

Child poverty, poor working conditions and lifestyles are all being blamed.

Details from North Yorkshire County Council

People in North Yorkshire generally enjoy better health than in many other parts of England.  A new public body set up to co-ordinate health and wellbeing policies aims to do everything in its power to make things even better.

While most people in the county enjoy above-average health, there are still many who don't.   The new North Yorkshire Health and Wellbeing Board is now outlining the priorities and policies it believes are necessary  to enable the good health of the majority to be shared by all.

"We can be thankful that generally speaking we enjoy better health than the average across England, and the feeling that North Yorkshire is a good place in which to live contributes to our sense of wellbeing" said Councillor John Weighell, chairman of  the Health and Wellbeing Board.

"However, there are some people whose opportunities and lifestyles mean they do not live the long, healthy lives they might rightfully expect.  We must do something about that.  As well as seeking to improve everyone's health and wellbeing, we must address the inequalities that mean people in some parts of the county are likely to live shorter, less healthy lives than others."

Men who live in the county's most deprived communities die on average 6.3 years earlier than those in the least deprived areas.  For women, the difference is 4.6 years.   Issues contributing to the discrepancies include child poverty, inequitable educational attainment, fuel poverty, and social isolation.   People's incomes, their living and working conditions, their social and community networks and the lifestyles they live - as well as age, sex and hereditary factors - all play a part.

The Health and Wellbeing Board has drawn up a draft strategy for addressing the issues, and is now urging partner organisations and the public to get involved in a consultation on its ideas.  

"The challenge is to make a positive impact on those factors that can be influenced," added Councillor Weighell.  "It is not about taking action on everything at once, but about setting priorities."

The draft strategy suggests setting five areas for priority attention. They include developing a network of health and social care provision by both public bodies and the independent sector which is responsive to people's needs, and encouraging a shift in focus from sickness and cure to wellness - providing support as close to people's homes as possible so that they can live independent lives for as long as possible within their own communities.

The Board's draft Strategy can be viewed and downloaded online at www.nypartnerships.org.uk/jhws.  A major event at which members of the public can contribute their own ideas on the strategy will be held at the Pavilions, Harrogate, at 2pm on Wednesday September 19.  To book a place, email jsna@northyorks.gov.uk, or call 01609-532525.

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