North East Essex Primary Care Trust is investing half a million pounds to improve health inequalities in the Colchester and Tendring areas.
A national health snapshot, carried out by the Association of Public Health Observatories of behalf of the Department of Health, shows general health in north east Essex to be good.
For example, life expectancy in the Colchester area is above the national average and average in Tendring.
However, the health profiles – published today – show that significant health inequalities do exist between the wards in both areas.
In Colchester there is a six year difference in life expectancy between the healthiest and unhealthiest wards, whilst the difference in Tendring is more significant at 13.3 years.
One in five children still live in poverty in the Colchester area, whilst that figure rises to one in seven in the Tendring area.
North East Essex Primary Care Trust is addressing these inequalities by setting aside £500,000 to invest in the unhealthiest wards and by working closely with the local district councils and other partners.
Krishna Ramkhelawon, the Trust’s Assistant Director of Public Health, said: “Again, we have been making progress in improving the health of the population, but it is clear some inequalities do still exist, and we are fully committed to challenging those inequalities.
“We are investing £500,000 in improving existing services and introducing new community programmes in those areas which currently have the poorest health and where action is clearly needed.
“Through these programmes we will be challenging problems such as childhood obesity, smoking and diabetes and supporting people to make the correct lifestyle choices to help them live healthier.”
The health profiles also reveal a number of other key facts about the health of the population in north east Essex.
In Colchester death rates from smoking, heart-disease, stroke and cancers have been decreasing, and they are in line with the national average in Tendring.
In Tendring children have very good dental health and the number of people with diabetes in Colchester is low, although work is ongoing to raise awareness and identify and support all our diabetic residents.
However, there are still some concerns about the population's lifestyle in both areas.
Colchester: 1 in 5 are obese, 1 in 4 smoke, 1 in 6 binge drink and only 1 in 4 eats a healthy diet.
Tendring: 1 in 4 are obese, 1 in 4 smoke, 1 in 8 binge drink and only 1 in 5 eat a healthy diet.
Mr Ramkhelawon added: “Clearly, some people are still not living healthy lifestyles, which can lead to serious health implications. We need to work hard to encourage these people to reconsider their lifestyles.”
For more information contact Patrick Lowman at Geronimo Communications on 01284 768935