Huddersfield Daily Examiner



HOUSANDS of deaths could be avoided every year if people led healthier lives, new figures have revealed.

A total of 360,135 people in England and Wales died from avoidable causes between 2015 and 2017 - the equivalent of more than one person every five minutes.

It means nearly one in every four deaths seen across England and Wales at that time could have been avoided (23%).

The figures were published by the Office for National Statistics.

A death is counted as “avoidable” if it could have been prevented by effective and timely healthcare, better public health policies, or a combinatio­n of both.

Avoidable deaths can include those from various types of cancer, heart disease, alcohol, drugs, and childbirth complicati­ons - as well as accidents, suicides and murders.

As many as 300,852 of the total number of avoidable deaths were linked with behaviour and lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, lack of exercise and poor diet.

It means making healthier choices could prolong the lives of 275 people a day across England and Wales - although other issues, such as deprivatio­n and environmen­tal factors, may also be at play.

Manchester in particular had the highest rate of avoidable deaths linked with lifestyle across the two countries.

There were 3,033 preventabl­e deaths recorded in the city between 2015 and 2017 that may have been caused by unhealthy life choices - 327 for every 100,000 people.

That’s nearly twice as high as the national average.

Across England and Wales, the 300,852 deaths work out as 183 for every 100,000 people.

Also making it into the top five areas for preventabl­e deaths were Blackpool, Hull, Liverpool and Middlesbro­ugh.

The area with the highest rate in Wales was Neath Port Talbot, where there were 1,115 such preventabl­e deaths recorded, or 253 for every 100,000 people.

Nationally, men are much more likely to suffer a preventabl­e death, making up 60% of all avoidable deaths that could be due to an unhealthy lifestyle.

Jacob West, director of healthcare innovation at the British Heart Foundation, said: “These figures are a stark reminder that what we do to our bodies matters.

“While we can’t always see the damage they cause, smoking, heavy drinking, lack of exercise and poor diet significan­tly increases our risk of coronary heart disease and can reduce life-expectancy.

“However, this is not all down to individual action and government has a role to play too.

“People need to be supported to make healthy choices to improve and protect their health.”

Jo Bibby, director of health at the Health Foundation, said: “When looking at the causes of preventabl­e deaths, it is all too easy to blame the individual.

“But this fails to recognise that the conditions in which people live, work and age can make it harder for people to live healthier lives.

“The strongest influences on our health are factors such as the money and resources available to us, our ability to access affordable healthy food, and the quality of our housing, education and workplaces.

“A healthier population not only benefits individual­s, it is vital to ensure a prosperous society. It’s time we started prioritisi­ng the nation’s health as an asset worth investing in.”

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