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Last Updated: Monday, 3 December 2007, 11:20 GMT
Strategy to overcome health gap
Stethoscope
Cancer, heart disease and stroke continues to be the biggest killers
A move to tackle the health divide between the rich and poor in Forth Valley is starting to pay off, according to health chiefs.

Figures show 60% of women in the area can expect to live beyond 80 years of age, similar to the UK average.

However, the study also revealed the highest death rates for those suffering from cancer, heart disease and strokes continues to be in Clackmannanshire.

The figures were revealed in NHS Forth Valley's annual public health report.

The report said that despite pockets of deprivation in areas of Clackmannanshire and Falkirk, improvements were evident.

'Tackle risks'

The health authority reported the best oral health results in Scotland, with 68% of primary one children free of decay, compared to the Scottish average of 54%.

The area also had the highest uptake of flu vaccines among the over-65s across Scotland.

Medical director Dr Gareth Davies said there was still much to be done to improve overall health in Forth Valley.

He said: "We are committed to the challenges which lie ahead to make Forth Valley a healthier place and well prepared to tackle risks to the population, whether they be pandemic flu, outbreaks of disease, chemical incidents, substance misuse or poor diet.

"Their health is our responsibility."

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