People in Swindon live shorter and less healthy lives than their neighbours

People in Swindon have a lower life expectancy than those in Wiltshire or Bath & North East Somerset.

And their average expectation of a healthy life is even worse.

Women in Swindon can expect to live 83.5 years and live this healthy for 62.3 years and men just 80.2 years with an average of 62.8 years of healthy living.

In Wiltshire men live an average of 81 years and women 84 years – both with a healthy life expectancy of 66 years – and in B&NES women have an average lifespan of 85 years and men 81.1 years – again with a healthy life expectancy of 66 years.

Resolving these health inequalities requires addressing social and economic inequalities because one thing leads to another, Swindon’s director of public health told members of the county council’s health and welfare committee.

dr Steve Maddern presented Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire’s joint inequality strategy to the board.

He said: “Societal, environmental and economic factors drive health inequalities. We need a holistic systems approach to things like obesity and smoking cessation.”

The strategy defines health inequalities as: “Unfair and avoidable health disparities within populations and between different groups within society. They arise because of the conditions in which we are born, grow up, live, work and age. These conditions affect our opportunities for good health and how we think, feel and act, and this shapes our mental health, physical health and well-being.”

dr Maddern told the board that the national strategy used in the plan is “20 plus five.”

He said: “There will be a focus on the 20 most deprived areas in Swindon, plus a focus on specific groups. In Swindon this will be black and ethnic minorities. There will also be a focus on five health areas including cardiovascular, respiratory and mental health.

The strategy states that success would come from “establishing and harnessing the potential of local anchor institutions at our three acute care hospitals and the Mental Health Foundation to bring about positive change across all areas of impact including employment, procurement and environmental impact.”

It was intended to “stop and reverse the prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire and reduce the prevalence of smoking with a specific focus on routine and manual activities and smoking in pregnancy.”

dr Maddern said the strategy’s first focus is trying to address health inequalities, but it would expand to other forms of inequality across the region.

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