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Life expectancy of Islington men is lowest in London

PUBLISHED: 06:31 18 November 2010

The Whittington Hospital

The Whittington Hospital

Archant

MEN living in Islington are dying younger than anywhere else in London, according to new figures.

The average life expectancy of a boy born in the borough is just 75.1 years – the lowest in the capital and the same as on the island of Taiwan.

The two big killers are cardiovascular disease and cancer, particularly lung cancer – with high cholesterol, smoking and obesity all contributing to the number of early deaths.

Health campaigner Shirley Franklin believes the economic cuts will only make the situation worse.

She said: “The low life expectancy is to do with stress and poverty. Islington is the eighth poorest borough in the country and I am terribly concerned that the poverty and stress is going to increase with the cuts. If stress and poverty gets worse, I imagine the death rates will get worse.

“People with unhealthy lifestyles tend to be poor – because it costs time, money and education to have a healthy lifestyle.”

The figures have been released by NHS Islington, which has just analysed life expectancy in Islington between 2006 and 2008. It found that during this period, nearly half the 1,147 deaths were premature – before the person reached 75.

Men fared worse, with an average life expectancy of just 75.1 years – the lowest of all London boroughs.

And while women fared better, living for an average of 81 years, the figure was still the fourth lowest of any London borough.

In contrast, the London average was 78.2 years for men and 82.7 years for women. The England average was 77.9 for men and 82 for women.

Health bosses believe that one of the main reasons Islington residents are dying earlier is because of poverty – often associated with an unhealthy lifestyle.

They claim that high blood pressure and cholesterol contributed to 30 per cent of the deaths, smoking to 20 per cent and obesity to 10 per cent.

They are particularly worried because Islington is not on track to close the gap in life expectancy any time soon – and because Government cuts will only make the job harder.

An NHS Islington report admitted: “Many other London boroughs with similar levels of deprivation have managed to successfully reduce the gap in their local area and the national average but in Islington this has not yet happened.

“The NHS is on the brink of large-scale organisational change and all statutory organisations are facing cuts. Altogether this is likely to have a disproportionate impact on the poorest in society, further widening the inequalities gap.”

Sarah Price, Islington’s director of public health, said NHS Islington will continue to “prioritise and invest” in solving the problem – even if funding cuts make it harder.

She said: “During the challenging times ahead, it will be important that all health professionals and statutory services keep focused on the goal of improving life expectancy to make Islington a fairer borough for all.”

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