The health of people in Nottingham is generally worse than the England average. This can be clearly seen when comparing life expectancy and healthy life expectancy in Nottingham to other parts of the Country.
A male baby born in Nottingham today has a life expectancy of 76.6 years, compared to an England average of 79.4 years. Whilst a gap of almost three years may not sound a lot, this is statistically significantly worse. Whilst life expectancy for females in Nottingham is slightly higher at 81 years this is also significantly lower than the England average of 83.1 years.
The picture is particularly concerning when you look at healthy life expectancy – this is the length of time that an individual can expect to live without poor health or disability. In Nottingham, healthy life expectancy for males is just 56.4 years, this is the 3rd lowest of any local authority area in England, and for females it is even lower at 55.6 years which is the 2nd lowest of any local authority area in England. This means that in Nottingham an average female can expect to spend almost a third of her life in poor health. This has significant consequences for individuals, communities and services.
Even within Nottingham there are inequalities in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy – life expectancy is 8.4 years lower for men and 8.6 years lower for women in the most deprived areas of Nottingham than in the least deprived areas.
Public health is about looking beyond the immediate causes (i.e. the disease) to identify the causes of the causes, and sometimes the causes of the causes of the causes. When we look at the risk factors which sit behind these causes of death we can see that this includes a wide range of interrelated factors such as where we live, the work we do and the behaviours we engage in – all of which have an impact on the biological condition of our body, and subsequently our mental and physical health and wellbeing.
Smoking is the single largest cause of (preventable) death and disease in Nottingham and it has been for more than 20 years. It is also one of the largest drivers of health inequality – accounting for approximately half the difference in life expectancy between the least and most deprived in society.
Just over one in five (20.9%) adults in Nottingham are current smokers – this is significantly higher than the England average of 13.9% and is the 4th highest smoking prevalence amongst all local authority areas in England.
Nottingham has high rates of people who are overweight or obese across its child and adult population. Childhood obesity is a national concern however the data shows us that Nottingham’s rates are increasing at a faster pace than the national average and the gap to elsewhere is widening. This is not just a concern which relates to children – 2 in 3 (66.2%) of adults in Nottingham are also overweight or obese. The fact that 28% of adults in Nottingham are physically inactive (this means they do less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week) is undoubtedly contributing to this.
Nottingham has high levels of deprivation and is ranked 11th most deprived district out of 317 districts in England by the Index of Multiple Deprivation which considers a range of domains of deprivation – income, employment, education, health, crime, barriers to housing and services and living environment.
Nottingham can be divided into small geographical areas of roughly the same population size to enable comparisons to other areas locally and nationally – these are known as Lower Super Output Areas (LSOA’s). More than half of Nottingham’s LSOA’s (104 of 182) Nottingham fall within the 20% most deprived areas across all of England. This means that 54% of Nottingham residents live in one of the 20% most deprived LSOA’s in England. There is only one ward in Nottingham City which does not contain a single LSOA in the most deprived 20%.
Work and home
National data shows us that there is a strong correlation (link) between our household income and our healthy life expectancy. Areas with higher average household income have higher average healthy life and areas with lower average household income have lower average healthy life expectancy. This is shown in the graph below with each dot representing a different area in England.
Nearly 17,000 children in Nottingham live in low income families – that is more than 1 in 4 children (27.2%).