“If we are to truly level up, we must focus on reducing poor health outcomes as well as economic imbalances between regions. It is encouraging that the levelling up white paper is expected to address narrowing the gap in healthy life expectancy and reducing obesity."
Commenting on the Government’s commitment to narrow disparities in life expectancy across the country as part of its Levelling Up White Paper, Cllr David Fothergill, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board said:
“We know that those living in the most deprived communities experience poorer mental health, higher rates of smoking and greater levels of obesity than the more affluent.
“It is good that this is recognised in the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper and councils want to work with government to tackle this growing problem.
“Health inequalities exist both between and within local authority areas, with almost 20 extra years of healthy life enjoyed by those in the most affluent areas compared with those in the most deprived areas.
“If we are to truly level up, we must focus on reducing poor health outcomes as well as economic imbalances between regions. It is encouraging that the levelling up white paper is expected to address narrowing the gap in healthy life expectancy and reducing obesity.
“The important interconnected determinants of health that could affect the change necessary for a substantial improvement in healthy life expectancy all lie outside the health sector. Improvements in housing, education and employment as well as ensuring a health promoting environment give an overall improvement in the health and wellbeing of communities.
“While we are encouraged by plans to address healthy life expectancy and tackle obesity, no increase in public health funding threatens to undermine the levelling up agenda and runs contrary to addressing the stark health inequalities exposed by the pandemic.”