One in three faces life on the breadline

POVERTY is a growing problem in Dewsbury, with one in three children and adults in the town facing deprivation on a daily basis.

Life expectancy at birth is the lowest in Kirklees and Dewsbury’s population faces more health problems than in the rest of the district. The town has high rates of most diseases, early death, infant death and smoking among all age groups.

According to the third Strategic Needs Assessment, compiled by the Kirklees Partnership, an increase in unemployment and the number of people on income-related benefits were exacerbating health problems in the Dewsbury area.

The JNSA for 2010 revealed that:

l Children in Dewsbury are likely to have poorer diets compared to other areas;

l Death rates for cancers and circulatory diseases, though falling in those under 75, were still the highest in Kirklees;

l Adults are least likely to do any physical activity at all;

l There are high rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes;

l Being overweight or obese is the norm in Dewsbury with 55 per cent of adults affected.

“The consequences include the highest rate of new cases of lung cancer in men and women and above average hospital admission rates for respiratory diseases,” said the report.

The report said that educational attainment has improved, notably at Foundation Stage and among pupils of Asian Pakistani heritage at GCSE level, but overall standards are low.

One in four adults in Dewsbury smokes – 10,500 people in all – and one in eight 14-year-olds smoke weekly or more.

Half of all 14 year olds in the town live with adults who smoked – the highest number in Kirklees.

Almost one in four (24 per cent) of adults in Dewsbury lives with a mental health issue including depression or anxiety.

In 2010 Dewsbury still had the highest rate of babies dying in their first year in Kirklees – 8.9 per 1000 – and the highest rate of stillbirths. Encouragingly there has been a drop in the number of teenage pregnancies in Dewsbury.

In Mirfield the picture was brighter with four out of five adults reported having good or excellent health.

Death rates in Mirfield in the under 75 age group were the lowest in Kirklees but heart disease rates were among the highest in Kirklees.

The lives of one in four adults in Mirfield was affected by a long-term illness and alcohol consumption by men in Mirfield was higher than average.