Why Sheffield people are living longer

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PEOPLE in Sheffield are healthier than they’ve ever been and living for longer than they ever have.

A baby boy born in Sheffield today can expect to live for 78 years and a month - the oldest for any large city outside London.

And girls’ life expectancy is now an average 81 years and eight months.

The figures were revealed today in the latest data from the Office of National Statistics.

Boys born 20 years ago, in 1991, could expect to live for just 72 years and nine months, while girls’ life expectancy was 78 years and seven months.

Sheffield’s current life expectancy for males is better than for boys born in cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and Newcastle.

Outside London, female life expectancy is higher only in Bristol and Leeds.

But there remain concerns about the difference in life expectancies within Sheffield’s city boundary - with people living in leafy Ecclesall, Fulwood, Dore and Totley living on average more than a decade longer than residents of inner city areas or poorer housing estates.

Dr Jeremy Wight, Sheffield’s Director of Public Health, said: “Unfortunately some health inequalities do still exist and this is why we are working with the council, GPs and existing services to improve the management of chronic diseases such as lung disease and diabetes. We are doing this in communities across the city, from Lowedges to High Green, so wherever you live in Sheffield your chance of a long and healthy life is improved.”

He said encouraging new mums to breastfeed, tackling child obesity in primary schools, promoting healthy diets and exercise, and helping people to stop smoking and drink less were all contributing to longer life expectancy.

“The health of people in Sheffield is better than it has ever been,” he said.

“Death rates from diseases such as heart attacks and lung disorders continue to fall, and the gap in life expectancy between men and women is reducing.”

The figure for males born in Sheffield today is better than for any other large city in England and Wales apart from the richest parts of London, where the borough of Kensington and Chelsea has the highest life expectancy of 85 years and a month for men, and 89 years and eight months for women.

Coun Jillian Creasy, Sheffield Central Green party councillor, who worked as a GP in one of Sheffield’s poorest areas, Page Hall, said: “The statistics are good news for Sheffield but the important thing is to break it down by area.

“The main thing that needs to be done to close the gap is to get the basics of good health right - having a job, having enough of the right food to eat, being able to heat your house and being able to travel. The richest people earn on average seven times the amount the poorest do.”

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