Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Employment Is the Best Medicine for North East

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Employment Is the Best Medicine for North East

Article excerpt

Byline: Katie Dickinson Reporter katie.dickinson@trinitymirror.com

GETTING people into work is the most important way to close the "stubborn" health gap between the North East and the rest of the country, the Government's most senior public health advisor has said.

A stark report presented to the North East Combined Authority (NECA) says a "radical shift" is needed to tackle poor health in the region, with average healthy life expectancy currently four years behind the national average.

It also says the high unemployment rate in the North East is a "significant public health issue" and has urged local Government to "create jobs local people can get".

The report, 'Health and wealth: closing the gap in the North East', challenges health and care leaders to be more ambitious and make a more radical shift towards preventing poor health.

Presenting the report to NECA, Public Health England chief executive Duncan Selbie said: "Life expectancy in the region has been improving but there is no hiding from the fact that health outcomes are poor and health inequalities are far too great.

"A baby born in the NECA area can expect more than a decade fewer years in good health than one born in Richmond on Thames or Wokingham.

"And within the NECA region differences in economic circumstances lead to significant health inequalities between neighbouring communities."

The report sets out a number of health challenges faced by the North East.

Average life expectancy for men in the North East is 78 years - 2.5 years less than for men in the South East.

For women, life expectancy in the North East is 81.7 years - 2.3 years less than in the South East.

Healthy life expectancy for men in the North East is 59.7 years - 6.2 years less than for men in the South East. For women, healthy life expectancy in the North East is 59.8 years - 6.8 years less than in the South East.

Across the wider North East, 18.7% of adults are smokers, considerably higher than the South East where 15. …

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