The state of Hartlepool’s health is improving according to public health chiefs despite lagging behind the rest of England for many conditions.
Life expectancy for the town is reported to be on the up and teenage pregnancy, deaths linked to smoking and heart disease have fallen in recent years.
But they remain above the England average and the latest data for child obesity showed it is on the increase.
And conditions including cancer, circulation, respiratory and digestive problems, contributed towards a difference in life expectancy between Hartlepool and the England average and were responsible for 341 excess deaths.
Hartlepool’s Director of Public Health, Louise Wallace, said the town was still seeing the effect of its industrial heritage.
During a presentation to a meeting of the council’s Audit and Governance group, she said: “There is a legacy of ill-health and burden of disease that has happened over a period of time that we are dealing with.”
We have come along way over the last 10-18 years in trying to narrow the gapLouise Wallace, Hartlepool Director of Public Health
Health inequalities for Hartlepool are also said to be linked to the town’s high deprivation levels.
Within Hartlepool, the gap in life expectancy between Hartlepool’s richest and poorest people is 11.3 years for men 8.6 years for women.
Teenage pregnancy remained worse than the national average but Ms Wallace said the trend was falling and the gap closing.
“We have come along way over the last 10-18 years in trying to narrow the gap,” she said.
Deaths related to smoking and cardiovascular disease in people under 75 were still significantly worse than the national average but have fallen in recent years and the gap between the national averages is narrowing.
Obesity rates in children aged 10 and 11 got worse between 2012-13 after previously falling.
Councillors commended the work of the Public Health Department, which came under the council’s responsibility since April 2013.
Coun Paul Beck said schools and youth clubs were promoting healthy eating.