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How to Live Longer

This report is in the daily express today

secret of how to live longer
11/10/06
by mark reynolds and tom wainwright

the secrets to a longer life were revealed in an official report yesterday.
Britons were urged to lose weight, eat fruit and vegetables – and move to dorset where people live up to eight years longer than elsewhere in the country.

As the government launched an assault on "fat britain", ministers said parents needed to take the lead by giving their children healthier food and encouraging more exercise.

The wake-up call came as britons were revealed to be the fattest people in europe, spending too much time sitting down and regarding healthy lifestyles as "too challenging".

A new health map shows the best areas for longevity and the worst for obesity. And the government’s report revealed a serious divide in the standard of public health between the north and south. Southern regions scored better in almost all areas, from teen pregnancies, to dental care, to smoking and drinking.

Children in the north-west have twice as many decayed teeth as those in the south-east. Men in east dorset live eight years longer than men in blackpool.

The report showed that when it comes to obesity, britain has a bulging middle, with those in the midlands most likely to be overweight. More than a quarter of east midlanders are
obese.

But the north fared better than the south in some other areas, including violent crime rates and road safety.

Health experts said last night that the geographical divide was here to stay.
Peter hollins, chief executive of the british heart foundation, said: "the north-south health divide has been a problem for decades and it is concerning that the gap is showing no signs of narrowing.

"the government’s new health map paints a picture of a country struggling with some serious public health issues in particular areas."

social problems such as binge drinking and smoking were concentrated in the north, the report showed.

Binge drinking is a problem for between 21 and 25 per cent of people in yorkshire, the north-west and north-east. Across the south fewer than 16 per cent are binge drinkers. Around 1.1 million britons are alcoholics.

In the north-east there were 66 per cent more deaths from smoking among men than in the south-west. The figure for women was 43 per cent.

Health minister caroline flint said the difference was partly due to the economic deprivation in the north.

Some 38 per cent of those in the north-east are classed as deprived, compared with five per cent in the south-east.

Ms flint said: "if you haven’t got a job, if you don’t feel you’ve got skills, if you look out of the window and you don’t like your environment, it’s quite hard to think about your health because you think ‘what have I got to be healthy for?’
"if you feel good about yourself and you want to live longer, you will do more to make sure you do live longer."

but northerners are safer in some respects, the report showed.


Violent crime is highest in london, with 27 reported cases per 1,000 people. In the north-east, the figure was 16, the joint-lowest.

London was also highest for road injuries and deaths, with 14.3 incidents per million kilometres, compared with 6.1 in the north-east and west midlands. Boston in lincolnshire has the unenviable title of the highest obesity rate of any town in the country – one in three.

The reason is believed to be a combination of high concentration of areas of severe deprivation and a lack of awareness.

The wealthy essex town of saffron walden boasts the lowest rates of obesity, at one in six.

Men in northern counties die on average two years earlier than their southern equivalents.

The most extreme difference in the mortality rate sees men in the north-west seaside town of blackpool living on average eight years less than their counterparts in east dorset – 72.8 and 80.8 respectively.

Alex clarke, chairman of east dorset district council, said the secret of long life was beautiful countryside and community spirit.

"i’ve lived all over the country and I have to say that east dorset is a wonderful place to live," he said.

Women live longest in london’s affluent borough of kensington and chelsea – 84.8 years, while those in blackburn live 77.6 years. Babies born in birmingham are six times more likely to die in their first year than those born in eastleigh, hampshire. On the need for healthier eating, ms flint said: "our initial focus will be obese adults and children."

the government wants supermarkets to provide in-store demonstrations on how healthier food should be prepared and eaten.

Schools and bus companies will be made part of the fight against obesity. And the public will be issued money vouchers which can only be spent on milk, fruit and vegetables.
The new report, health profile of england, makes worrying reading for the over-stretched nhs. Obesity already costs the health service £1billion a year.

The uk tops europe’s obesity chart, with fatter citizens than greece, spain, germany, poland, france, italy and switzerland.

Medical experts predict some 13 million people in england will be obese by 2010 if nothing is done to tackle the problem.

Last night shadow health secretary andrew lansley said: "the government’s white paper in 2004 talked about an obesity strategy but the implementation has been virtually non-existent."
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