Damning Healthy Life Expectancy rates for Tower Hamlets revealed

PUBLISHED: 08:05 19 September 2013 | UPDATED: 08:05 19 September 2013

Women in Tower Hamlets have a healthy life expectancy (HLE) which is 15 years lower than those in affluent Richmond upon Thames, new figures show.

The East End borough has an HLE for women of just 54.1 years – the lowest of any local authority measured in data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Men fare little better, with an HLE of 55.7 years - the fourth lowest of any of the ‘upper tier’ local authorities (such as shire counties and London boroughs) in England between 2009 and 2011.

In contrast, the wealthy west London borough of Richmond upon Thames has an HLE of 72.1 for women and 70.3 for men.

Dr John Middleton is vice president for policy at the Faculty of Public Health – an independent body representing 3,300 health professionals.

He said: “We know that healthy life expectancy is determined by our chances of being in a job, living in decent housing and having an adequate income.

“Clearly having a healthy lifestyle makes a big difference, but so does being in employment.”

The figures show a north-south divide in England, and point to clear gender gaps – with women expected to live longer than men in every local authority analysed.

Previous statistics on life expectancy in the borough have painted a similar picture.

In June, data from Public Health England – part of the department of health – showed more people die prematurely in Tower Hamlets than anywhere else in London, with 347 deaths of under-75s per 100,000 residents.

And Dr Middleton said it was vital that bodies such as the ONS are able to continue undertaking such research.

“We need to keep monitoring as much as we can about our health so that we can continue to improve it,” he said.

“Otherwise, the gaps between the ‘health haves’ and ‘health have nots’ will continue to get wider.”

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