I’M a big believer that in order to get to where you want to go, you need to first know where you are. I would love for Rossendale to be a healthier, happier place but to get there it’s important that we understand our current position and challenges.
As I’ve learned more about the health outcomes for Rossendale people I’ve been saddened, disappointed, and in part shocked.
According to the latest Public Health data for Rossendale, our life expectancy for both men (77.7 years) and women (82.4 years) who live in Rossendale is a year less than the National average and, for men, nearly six years less than the best borough in the UK.
A year might not seem like a lot, but when I think about it – you can certainly do a lot in a year.
In six years you can accomplish almost anything!
We shouldn’t be living six years less. While a number of factors have an impact on life expectancy, there are a couple of things which we can influence which play a major role.
I was surprised to learn that 67 per cent of adults in Rossendale are carrying excess weight.
That’s 3pc more that the national average, and a staggering 22pc worse than the best borough in the UK.
It’s not just adults who are overweight either, nearly 20pc of children leaving primary school in Rossendale are obese and in some areas the percentage is much higher.
Diet is a key factor clearly, but so is physical activity.
Only 52pc of adults in Rossendale are deemed physically active, compared to a national average of 57pc and a UK best 69%.
I know we don’t all love sport and leisure, or going to the gym, but many of us can do a little bit more than we currently do and the team at the Leisure Trust are keen to find more ways to assist local people in making that positive change.
In the face of those startling statistics, what is exciting for me is that we are way above the national average in the number of us who would like to be more active – which shows that people want to make a change and be healthier and start to turn some of these alarming facts into positive stories of change.