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Health Inequalities

Thrive Plymouth is about making healthy choices the easy choices which we hope will lead to people in the city living healthier lifestyles.

We know our behavioural patterns, driven by social and economic conditions, have the greatest influence on population health. Considering the influences on the wider ‘context of choice’ across the city is important in order to understand the barriers and opportunities to leading healthier lives.

The four behaviours that increase the risks of chronic diseases are poor diet, inactivity, alcohol misuse and smoking tobacco. These behaviours have become less common in the general population in England between 2003 and 2008. The reductions however are distributed unequally and the behaviours remain highest in the populations where people are poorest and have lower educational attainment.

Thrive Plymouth has an annual focus, in its first year this was workplaces, year two focused on school settings and year three localised One You (the national adult health campaign by Public Health England). Year four which will launch on 10th October 2017 will focus on mental wellbeing. You will find resources and information about each of the annual themes on this website.

What does ‘health inequalities’ mean?

‘Health inequalities’ have an impact on individuals and communities, and can be described as ‘differences between people or groups due to social, geographical, biological or other factors'. These differences have a huge impact, because they result in people who are worst off experiencing poorer health and shorter lives. Some differences, such as ethnicity, may be fixed. Others are caused by social or geographical factors (also known as ‘health inequities’) that can be avoided or mitigated.’

Average life expectancy at birth is the measure chosen by Thrive Plymouth to assess and monitor the overall extent of health inequalities in the city. Average life expectancy in Plymouth is lower than the England average for men (78.0 years compared to 78.9 years) and for women (82.0 years compared to 82.8 years). Variations in life expectancy are found within the city for both men and women.

  • Average life expectancy for men ranges from a high of 81.4 years in the Eggbuckland ward to a low of 73.8 years in the Devonport ward.
  • Average life expectancy for women ranges from a high of 88.8 years in the Plympton Chaddlewood ward to a low of 78.2 years in the Devonport ward.

In Plymouth the gap in life expectancy (for all persons) by ward is 7.5 years. Variations in life expectancy by ward are illustrated using a bus route map across the city.