Poor boys and girls will die nearly a decade ear­lier

Hinckley Times - - NEWS - AL­ICE CACHIA hinck­ley­[email protected]­plc.com

THE poor­est boys and girls born in East Mid­lands will die nearly a decade ear­lier than the rich­est, and ex­perts have warned that the gap is grow­ing.

Lat­est fig­ures from the Of­fice for Na­tional Statis­tics re­veal that boys born to the poor­est 20% of fam­i­lies in our re­gion will sur­vive un­til the av­er­age age of 75.

Boys born to the rich­est 20% fam­i­lies, on the other hand, will live an ex­tra seven years - un­til the age of 82.

The story is the sim­i­lar for girls in our re­gion, with the poor­est liv­ing un­til the age of 80 and the rich­est likely to live un­til the age of 85.

Life­style dif­fer­ences likely con­trib­ute to the mor­tal­ity gap be­tween the rich and poor, with poorer peo­ple more likely to smoke and have higher lev­els of obe­sity.

A re­port from the Longevity Science Panel (LSP) ear­lier this year also found a widen­ing gap be­tween life ex­pectan­cies of the rich and poor.

At the time, re­port au­thor Dame Karen Dun­nell said: “Dy­ing ear­lier if you are poor is the most un­fair out­come of all.

“We should all be con­cerned about the grow­ing di­ver­gence in rich-poor life ex­pectancy. To re­duce the risk of fur­ther widen­ing, we need bet­ter un­der­stand- ing of the pre­cise causes, fol­lowed by co-or­di­nated pol­icy ini­tia­tives across health, work, wel­fare, pen­sion and hous­ing to im­prove out­comes for all.”

The poor­est boys born in the East Mid­lands will also spend 71% of their lives in “good” health, while for girls the rate is 66%.

The rich­est boys and girls, mean­while, will both spend 81% of their lives in “good” health.

“Good” health is how in­di­vid­u­als per­ceive their own health based on as­sess­ments of healthy age­ing, fit­ness for work, and health and so­cial care need.

Dr Ronny Che­ung, of the Royal Col­lege of Pae­di­atrics and Child Health, said: “Not only are chil­dren born to the poor­est fam­i­lies more likely to die than those born to the most af­flu­ent, but that gap is grow­ing.

“Ma­ter­nal health is crit­i­cal to the health of ba­bies and in­fants, and we know that the poor­est women have poorer health, poorer nu­tri­tional sta­tus and more dif­fi­culty ac­cess­ing health care.

“All of these fac­tors af­fect the health of new­born ba­bies and their risk of death.

“Poverty is also as­so­ci­ated with poorer health lit­er­acy - the abil­ity to un­der­stand your health and how to live more healthily, pro­tect­ing chil­dren through health in­ter­ven­tions such as im­mu­ni­sa­tions, recog­nis­ing ill­ness and when to seek med­i­cal help.

“This means poorer fam­i­lies, de­spite their best in­ten­tions, need ex­tra tar­geted sup­port from health care, such as from health vis­i­tors.

“There is a clear moral ar­gu­ment to in­crease the level of tar­geted sup­port for the poor­est fam­i­lies – in­vest­ing in health vis­i­tors and sup­port ser­vices for women be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter child­birth es­pe­cially among those most vul­ner­a­ble groups.

“Govern­ment pol­icy should once again fo­cus on the elim­i­na­tion of child poverty as a pri­or­ity, be­cause it is the fun­da­men­tal fac­tor which un­der­lies so many of the dis­par­i­ties in health across child­hood.”

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