Residents under greater threat from major killer diseases, claims report

Barking and Dagenham has been highlighted as one of the worst areas in the country for early deaths from major killers like heart disease, stroke and cancer.

A website called Longer Lives, published today by Public Health England, allows people to compare one area’s mortality against another.

It uses a traffic-light rating system so that areas ranked above average in tackling avoidable deaths are green, while those on the bottom end of the spectrum are red.

Across the four major killers: cancer, heart disease, lung disease and liver disease, Barking and Dagenham is flagged red.

Nationally it is ranked 133rd worst out of 150 local authorities for premature deaths.

Neighbouring boroughs fare better: Redbridge is 40th and Havering is 45th, while Newham is also nearer the bottom end at 116th.

The website also compares areas in the same socioeconomic bracket.

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Barking and Dagenham is classed alongside Lewisham and Lambeth, among other areas, and ranks ninth out of the 15 authorities.

The site has been launched to drive local action to tackle public health problems.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, Public Health England’s regional director for London, said: “The evidence is clear - a person’s likelihood of dying early varies widely between boroughs due to differences in risk factors such as being overweight, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking, and that these are closely linked to economic deprivation.”

The website also contains case studies of what has been successful elsewhere, she added.

Dr Sue Levi, a consultant in public health medicine at the council, said the answers to the problem were simple but hard to achieve.

She advised: “The most important cause of early preventable death is smoking. Why not have another go at giving up? Next think about walking a bit more and cutting down on fat and fizzy drinks. Also, watch how much alcohol you are drinking.”