HEALTH PROFILES SUPPORT TARGETING OF HEALTH INEQUALITIES
The Department for Health has published 2007 health profiles for 386 local authority areas to help in targeting resources to reduce health inequalities. They also provide a snapshot of England’s health which shows that health is improving but there are wide variations between different areas. The profiles give information on a range of issues including life expectancy and smoking.
The profiles show that Kensington and Chelsea has the smallest numbers dying from cancer. Teesdale has the most physically active people with 17 per cent doing some exercise for 20 days in the past four weeks. While St Albans has the fewest people admitted to hospital with alcohol-related problems. Reducing smoking is a national priority and the profiles show local authority areas that have a significant number of smokers.
Profiling is increasingly proving successful in tackling issues which bring health inequality. A men’s health programme has been launched in Yorkshire to improve life expectancy including “stop smoking” campaigns, football and gym sessions and advice sessions in pubs, a barber’s shop and a multicultural activity centre. Telford and Wrekin had high levels of premature deaths from coronary heart disease and stroke and initiatives have started to get more people to exercise and eat less such as a women-only learn to swim class aimed at the Asian community and a 12 week weight loss programme for families with obese children.
The profiles are available at: http://www.communityhealthprofiles.info/index.php They are also being distributed to all councils and primary care trusts as well as to all council members.