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Life expectancy in Craven improves as residents get more active

Tuesday, 7 March 2023 16:26

By Thomas Barrett, Local Democracy Reporter

The life expectancy gap between people living in the most and least deprived areas of Craven has improved since 2016, figures reveal.

Councillors met in Skipton last night to discuss an update report on sports facilities in the district such as swimming pools, sports halls, gyms, bowling greens and tennis courts.

Lewis Leisure Consultancy prepared the report for the council at a cost of £7,000.

As well as summarising how facilities like Craven Leisure in Skipton are being used, it includes data on the health of residents living in the district.

The document will also inform North Yorkshire Council’s Local Plan that will be developed to state where housebuilding can take place across North Yorkshire.

In 2016, the report said that life expectancy in Craven’s most deprived areas was 9 years lower for men and 5.2 years lower for women than in its least deprived areas.

However, by 2022, this figure had almost halved to 4.9 years for men and 3.3 years lower for women.

According to the report, the overall life expectancy for men in Craven is 81 years and for women it’s 85—which is higher than the national average.

Part of the reason for the life expectancy gap in different areas improving could be down to residents becoming more active.

The report said the rate of people excercising for more than 150 minutes a week in Craven has increased from 66.6% to 70.1% since 2016.

It also says that the number of people who are members of a sports club has increased from 20.7% to 33.5% since 2015. This figure continues to improve since the end of the covid pandemic.

However, the report noted that just over half of Craven residents are overweight or obese, although this figure is still below the national average.

Cllr Simon Myers, the Conservative member for Gargrave and Malhamdale Ward, told the meeting that the results show Craven is on “the right direction of travel” when it comes to healthy living but that improvements can still be made.

He added: “There’s been much more concentration on public health and wellbeing. However I still think it’s disgraceful there are just short of five years [in life expectancy] between the most affluent and less areas. We need to consider where we put resources and how we narrow that life expectancy gap. It’s really, really crucial.”

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