People live up to 14 years less in Norfolk’s most deprived areas compared to the most affluent

PUBLISHED: 10:28 22 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:36 22 October 2018

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk County Council's new director for Public Health.

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk County Council's new director for Public Health. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

Life expectancy in Norfolk varies by up to 14 years, according to where people live, a new county council report has revealed.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Neil PerryAndrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Neil Perry

The director of public health’s annual report says this could be due to higher rates of preventable illnesses, especially cancer, respiratory disease and heart disease in Norfolk’s more deprived areas.

The council’s leader, Andrew Proctor, said: “This report sheds more light on the health challenges facing this county. This level of detail is the basis for how we plan services and make the biggest positive impact. We’re facing a situation where people live longer, but with longer periods of ill-health.”

Women’s life expectancy varies between 77 years in parts of West Norfolk to 91 years in parts of Broadland.

Men’s life expectancy varies between 71 years in parts of Great Yarmouth to 85 years in parts of South Norfolk.

The report, by public health director Dr Louise Smith, says: “We may be seeing life expectancy stalling and healthy life expectancy decreasing.

“Changing lifestyles can prevent the onset and reduce the severity of long-term illnesses. Higher levels of risk occur more in deprived areas and there are differences in life expectancy of about 13 years across the county. This suggests that health improvement services should be better targeted to provide a more holistic approach for an individual with multiple risk factors, focussed on areas of highest need.”

The key findings were:

• Average life expectancy has levelled off for men (80 years) and the time when people live with poor health is 15.4 years for men and 19.4 for women;

• The total number of deaths in Norfolk is increasing, due to the ageing population;

• Having several illnesses is becoming more common and health services should be organised to care for complex needs;

• Causes of death are changing, with dementia now the leading cause of death for women;

• Key risk factors include smoking, poor diet and alcohol intake, often associated with deprivation;

• High blood pressure is Norfolk’s third leading risk for deaths and disability in Norfolk, with an estimated 110,000 people undiagnosed.

The report will be discussed by the policy and resources committee, which meets at 10am on Monday, October 29.

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