The Mayor, Sadiq Khan, today condemned the stark disparity in the number of years that Londoners in different boroughs can expect to live in ill health as he published his Health Inequality Strategy.
A new map released alongside the Mayor’s strategy illustrates the wide inequality within the capital. It shows that women suffer disproportionately with ill health in 30 of the 32 London boroughs – living in ill health for an average of 19.9 years, compared to 16.1 years for men.
Most starkly, women living in Tower Hamlets can expect to live for 30.1 years in poor health, whereas for men in Enfield, the number of years is just 11.7 – a gap of 18.4 years1.
Life expectancy for Londoners is now more than 80 years for men and more than 84 years for women. The Mayor’s focus is to ensure that all Londoners can live as much of their lives as possible in good health. His new draft strategy, published today for consultation, aims to reduce inequalities in the capital, improving the health of Londoners and helping them to live longer, healthier lives.
Health inequalities are systematic and avoidable and are defined as unfair differences in mental or physical health. They are mostly the result of differences in people’s homes, education and their childhood experiences, local environment, their jobs, access to public services and their habits. There is a clear relationship between wealth and health, which means that everyone but the most financially well off are likely to suffer from an avoidable illness or condition.
The Mayor’s outline strategy, which will look to address these inequalities and, in turn, improve the health of all Londoners, contains five strands. These are:
- Healthy Children – helping to ensure all of London’s children have healthy places in which to learn, play and develop, and giving all young people the best start in life
- Healthy Minds – supporting Londoners to feel comfortable talking about mental health, reducing stigma and encouraging people across the city to work together to reduce suicide
- Healthy Places – working towards London having the best air quality of any major global city, making the capital’s streets healthier, ensuring all Londoners have access to good-quality green space, tackling income inequality and fuel poverty, creating healthy workplaces, improving housing quality and affordability, and addressing homelessness and rough sleeping
- Healthy Communities – encouraging all Londoners to participate in community life, equipping people with the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence to improve their health, supporting the prevention of HIV and TB, reducing hate crime and enabling more Londoners to benefit from social prescribing (a way of linking patients with sources of support within the community to treat social, rather than medical problems)
- Healthy Habits – working with partners towards a reduction in childhood obesity rates and a reduction in the gap between the boroughs with the highest and lowest rates of child obesity, and encouraging all Londoners to reduce smoking, alcohol and drug use among all Londoners, especially among young people