There is now a bigger difference between the number of pensioners dying from heart disease in the most and least deprived areas of England than there was in 1982, research has shown.
A study produced by Imperial College London looked at death rates for people aged between 30 and 64 and those aged 65 and over across a 24-year period from 1982 to 2006.
Academics found more than double the number of people died of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 1982 than in 2006. But when they compared data from electoral wards, they realised the gap between the health of pensioners in affluent areas and those in poorer locations had actually widened.
In the top one per cent of wards the number of male pensioners dying from CVD decreased five times more than in the worst one per cent, while for women over 65 the fall was 10 times greater in the best areas.
Areas in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and parts of Yorkshire had the greatest numbers of deaths caused by heart disease along with deprived parts of London including Newham, Hackney and Haringey.
The report, which was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, said some locations in large northern cities had very high rates of deaths from heart disease in the 1980s and had been unable to improve to the degree needed to be on a par with better off areas.