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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 December 2005, 00:38 GMT
Wealth means health says report
People in the poorest parts of north-west England have a life expectancy 10% below the national average according to new research.

The finding is part of a comprehensive survey into the region's health released on Tuesday by the North West Public Health Observatory.

Where Wealth Means Health compares the health of residents in the top 20% and bottom 20% of the region.

It looks at conditions from mental illness to diabetes.

Mental health

The report identifies how more than 50 of the most common debilitating and life-threatening health and social conditions affect those in poor areas.

Among the findings it notes that people in the worst-off areas are three times more likely to suffer mental health problems and twice as likely to suffer heart conditions.

It gives a breakdown by local council from North Cheshire to South Cumbria.

Observatory director Professor Mark Bellis said some health gains in the region such as smoking conditions had been offset by binge drinking.

"Unfortunately these gains have been more or less wiped out by increasing levels of ill health related to chronic and binge-related alcohol use.

Dr Karen Tocque report co-author said she hoped the report would help health services and local authorities improve their targeting of effort to close health gaps.

The observatory is based at the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University.

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