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CVD killing more 'poor' people

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Cardiovascular disease is still disproportionately killing poor people in England, government data shows.

Those living in the poorest parts of the country are two-and-a-half times more likely to die because of heart problems or stroke than those in wealthy areas.

The figures, compiled by the South East Public Health Observatory, were issued through the Department of Health which said the collection of data was arranged in order to assess how cardiovascular diseases damages local populations. Quality and availability of healthcare is measured, as is the likelihood of how focusing on prevention can improve death rates among people on low incomes.

More people are killed by cardiovascular disease in the UK than any other cause. Heart disease and stroke are responsible for around one in every three deaths in England. The data shows that overall, the cardiovascular death rate in England is falling, but regional figures vary wildly. Cardiovascular disease is responsible for 55% of deaths in Sunderland, Essex and Hartlepool but is the cause of just 40% of deaths in parts of the East of England and London, for example.

Regional figures for the proportions of people classified as obese are also vastly uneven. Almost a third of the population of Stockton-on-Tees for example are deemed obese (30%), whereas parts of London have only a 15% proportion.

Every area also shows a 50% rate in the proportion of those who do not eat enough fruit and vegetables, although some parts of the North East show a 20% rate.

Referring to the controversial data, Roger Boyle, the Department of Health’s national clinical director for heart disease and stroke, said: “They are a sobering reminder of the public health challenges around poor diet and obesity. But different parts of the country can learn from each other too, which is part of the importance of making this data publicly available.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Controversial data? This is not new. But letting public health nurses do their jobs properly that would be novel.

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