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North-south health divide remains

There is still a significant north-south health divide in England, government data has revealed.

Northern areas have higher obesity rates, more smoking-related deaths and lower life expectancies.

And Boston in Lincolnshire has been shown to have the highest obesity rate of any town in the country.

Prime minister Tony Blair said the government would risk being seen as a "nanny state" because it was important to get health messages to the public.

The government is to announce supermarkets, schools and bus companies will be part of a renewed fight against the obesity epidemic.

Mr Blair told the BBC the government had to tackle public health issues.
"It's difficult for us, trying to balance not becoming a 'nanny state' which tells everyone what to do, and trying to educate people that there are real changes that they can make to improve their health and fitness.

"But when it has an impact, as it does and will do over the long term, on the whole of the country and our ability to afford the healthcare system, it's our job to put the facts before people."

Smoking hotspots

The Health Profile of England report published on Tuesday- which shows the UK has the highest obesity rate in Europe - comes just two months after the Department of Health predicted 13m people in England would be obese by 2010 if nothing was done to tackle the problem.

It sets out the progress the government has made in tackling public health since the publication of its Choosing Health ... continue > 

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Published: 10 October 2006      Ref: BBC News


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