ONE IN FIVE pregnant women in Warwickshire are still smoking regularly when they give birth, a report into public health has found.
A frank report on the state of the county’s health also found that 1,600 Warwickshire children started smoking in the last year.
However, the health of people in Warwickshire is generally better than the average for England, and life expectancy is higher for both men and women.
Warwickshire’s Director of Public Health, Dr John Linnane, published his report last week.
He said: “How can we have one in five babies being born in the county who have effectively already been smoking for nine months at the time they take their first breath?”
His report also found that childhood obesity is lower than the average for England, but around 16.2 per cent of Year 6 children in Warwickshire are still classified as obese.
In addition, the level of adult obesity is worse than the country’s average and there are more road injuries and deaths in Warwickshire than average.
This year, £2.7 billion of public funding was taking away from NHS control and given to local councils. Warwickshire’s public health has become the responsibility of the county council for the first time in nearly 40 years.
Dr Linnane’s report is supposed to highlight challenges for improving the county’s health in the future.
He also found there was substantial inequalities between the affluent and deprived areas of Warwickshire.
He said: “Life expectancy is 8.3 years lower for men and 7.6 years lower for women in the most deprived areas.”
However, overall life expectancy is better than average, and the number of early deaths from heart disease and strokes has fallen.
Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Health, Cllr Bob Stevens, said: “This annual report from Dr Linnane is encouraging, and shows that things are heading in the right direction in Warwickshire.
“Clearly there are areas which require our attention and action - the ‘return’ of public health to local government after 39 years in the NHS provides a renewed opportunity to address these issues.”
To see the report in full visit www.publichealth.warwickshire.gov.uk/annual-report
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