Public health report shows there are worrying levels of poverty and deprivation in Ipswich

Smoking rates are analysed

Smoking rates are analysed - Credit: Getty Images/Wavebreak Media

Reducing smoking levels and early deaths from cardiovascular disease must be the top health priorities for Ipswich.

That is the verdict of a new report which has revealed Ipswich is lagging behind the national average when it comes to child poverty, GCSE achievement, deprivation and violent crimes.

Public Health England yesterday released a health profile of all local authority areas in the country, providing a snapshot of the health of those areas.

Ipswich’s performance was labelled as “varied” when compared to the national average, with Suffolk as a whole being described as “generally better” than the average.

According to the data, 5,500 children are living in poverty in Ipswich and 250 Year 6 pupils have been classified as obese. Life expectancy at birth for both men and women is similar to the average, at 79.2 years and 83.3 years respectively.

Education comes under the spotlight

Education comes under the spotlight - Credit: Getty Images

The local priorities for Ipswich, as a result of the figures, have been named as reducing smoking levels, making sure children are at a healthy weight and preventing early death from cardiovascular disease.

Neil MacDonald, Ipswich Borough Council’s protection and health portfolio-holder, said: “The poverty and deprivation stats are of great concern. Ipswich Borough Council is keen to play our part in improving people’s health by providing good quality housing, wide ranging sports facilities and welcoming green spaces.”

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While the town has seen some disappointing results in the latest profile, there are some positives. Smoking related deaths is below the national average and alcohol-specific hospital stays for under 18s is also below than average.

According to the data for Suffolk overall, 18,900 children under 16 in the county are living in poverty, while more than 1,160 Year 6 pupils have been classified as obese – both these figures are better than the national average.

The county was also below average for the number of five A*-C grades being achieved at GCSE and the number of people killed or seriously injured on roads.

Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health, said: “The health profiles for Suffolk released today show that the health of people in Suffolk is generally better than the England average. This is very positive and also it is useful for us to be able to compare ourselves with other areas of the country.

“However there are still areas of concern. For example inequalities in health remain, particularly in areas of high deprivation. Like the whole of the country, obesity is still a concern with more than one in five adults and 17% of children aged 10 -11 classified as obese. Smoking is also a concern with over 18% of adults being classed as smokers in the county.”

A spokesman for the Ipswich and East and West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups said the profiles highlighted that east and west Suffolk “continue to be good areas of health”, but added: “There is still work to be done to reduce the levels of inequality that exist and increase life expectancy in parts of the county. We also recognise the importance of educational attainment and the long-term effects on childhood health and that we continue to have a childhood obesity issue in Suffolk, which remains a priority for all.

“Both our CCGs are working towards better partnership working with our health and social care partners to improve health services, and by closing any gaps that exist.”