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Health data to help councils track public health performance

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Councils are being helped to compare the state of their residents’ health against the national average and their counterparts in other local authority areas with a refreshed data set published by the Department of Health.

The figures measure levels of childhood obesity and smoking, as well as the “wider determinants of health” such as child poverty, homelessness and unemployment. They also measure “self-reported wellbeing” and some clinical factors such as the extent of cancer screening and vaccinations.

The data has been published ahead of the transfer of public health responsibilities to local government next year.

When councils take on the new role, their success will be measured – and made public – as updated versions of the data are published, showing whether councils have managed to reduce obesity and smoking and improve residents’ health.

The data shows a strong link between levels of deprivation and childhood obesity. The number of overweight four and five year olds is significantly higher among the most deprived groups than among the most affluent, it shows.

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