Hartlepool has second-highest level of inactivity in North-East

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COUNCIL chiefs admit there is work to do after a new report suggested a link between a lack of physical activity and premature death in deprived areas.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s view comes after a new report found Hartlepool has the second-highest level of inactivity among North-East residents.

The town is ranked 134th out of 150 national local authorities, with 34.76 per cent of adults inactive.

The report, by not-for-profit health body ukactive, also found there are 335.7 premature deaths per 100,000 people per year in the town.

The cost of inactivity to the council per 100,000 people per year is £22,791,546.59.

The report, called Turning the Tide of Physical Activity, says people in the North-East are more likely to suffer premature deaths in poor areas where local councils are failing to tackle the growing physical inactivity pandemic.

But council chiefs acknowledge there is work to do to “overcome the health legacy left by generations of deprivation” and say they are doing their best to achieve this.

Key findings include that in the most deprived areas, one in three people fail to raise their heartbeat for 30 minutes across a month and this decreases to one in four in the least deprived areas.

Areas with the highest levels of inactivity have a third fewer leisure facilities per person compared with areas of low inactivity. However, the report also shows that numbers aren’t always necessarily the answer – in some cases fewer, high quality, well designed leisure facilities have been effective in driving down inactivity levels.

A council spokesman said: “We acknowledge that we have a lot of work to do to overcome the health legacy left by generations of deprivation in Hartlepool but we are doing our utmost to achieve this.

“It should also be noted that the average 2.7 per cent of its public health budget which the North-East spends on encouraging physical activity is higher than the 2.4 per cent national average.”

The spokesman said working with other organisations, a wide range of initiatives are in place to encourage participation and access to physical activities, adding: “We are absolutely committed to using every possible opportunity to encourage people of all ages to lead more active and healthier lives.”