A third of 10 and 11-year-olds obese in two areas of London

shutterstock_291654485-2London’s record on childhood obesity has been poor and getting worst for some time. But data for small areas released by Public Health England raise new levels of concern as in two neigbbourhoods a third of the 10 and 11-year old children are now obese.

In the electoral ward of Camberwell Green, Southwark 34% of Year 6 children are obese. In Hoxton West in Hackney its 33%.  Only one other area of England has a higher level – 35% in Sutton-on-Sea in Lincolnshire.

The Public Health England data covers nearly 7,500 electoral wards in England and it shows that six of the ten worst areas for childhood obesity among Year 6 children are in London.

Obesity Year 6 wards-2

It’s a similar pattern for children in Reception, aged 4 and 5, where Woodberry Down ward in Hackney has the worst record in the country and a rate that is double the England average. Six other neighbourhoods in the capital are also among the worst ten in England for this age group.

Obesity reception ward-2

This small area data is gathered by Public Health England to help target resources to combat child weight problems.

The poor record on obesity for primary school children is reflected more broadly at borough level and underlines that London has one of the most severe problems in the country.

At Reception age,  six of the ten local authorities with the highest rates are in London.  The highest level local authority average rate in the England is nearly 14% in Barking and Dagenham. Greenwich, Newham, Hackney, Southwark and Tower Hamlets all have rates of 12% or above.

The obesity rates in these boroughs doubles for Year 6 children. Enfield and Westminster also have more than a quarter of Year 6 children classified as obese.  Eight of the ten local authorities in England with the highest obesity rates for 10 and 11-year olds are in London.

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See also

How the obesity rate doubled for the class of 2007

Childhood obesity highest in London

Thousands of children sent to hospital because of tooth decay

 

Growth of preventable cases of diabetes threaten the health service

Obese copy

The number of people in London suffering from diabetes will rocket by 40% over the next 20 years, according to forecasts from Public Health England.

Its figures show that in 2016 there are 638,000 people over 16 with diabetes. But rising rates coupled with a growing population means that this will go up by more than a quarter of million to 895,000 by 2035.

PHE says that around 90% of the new cases will be Type 2 diabetes, which is caused by lifestyle factors and linked to obesity. It says these cases are preventable and tackling the problem is fundamental to the future of the health service.

John Newton of Public Health England said: “Developing diabetes in not an inevitable part of ageing.  We have the opportunity through public health to reverse this trend and safeguard the health of the nation and the future of the NHS.”

The PHE forecasts reveals a wide discrepancy in rates across the capital.  Brent has the highest rate of diabetes not only in London but in England with 11.5% of people with the condition today.  Kingston has the lowest rate in England at 6.7%.

The highest rates after Brent are in Harrow, Redbridge and Ealing. The lowest, apart from  Kingston, are in Richmond, Wandsworth and Islington.

Diabetes rate 2016

Both Brent and Kingston will retain their positions as the boroughs with the highest and lowest rates in England by 2035.  The rate in Brent will climb to 13.6% of the population.

The record in Ealing, Harrow and Redbridge will remain poor and Newham will be second only to Brent with a rate of 12.7%.

Kingston’s rate will rise to 7.6%, with neighbouring Richmond, plus Wandsworth and Islington remaining among the areas with lowest rates.

Diabetes 2035

The data shows a worsening situation throughout London over the next two decades.  Today there are seven boroughs where the prevalence of diabetes in the population is above 10%. By 2035 the rate is forecast to be one in ten or higher in 17 areas.

The biggest change in the rate of the condition between 2016 and 2035 is forecast to be in Tower Hamlets where the rate will go up by 24%.  The borough is also expected to see the biggest growth in population in the coming decades, as reported by Urbs. The combination of these factors will place severe pressure on local health services.

Diabetes is caused by the inability of the body to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. It is associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Sufferers may also develop kidney disease and foot ulcers, which can lead to amputation.

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More diabetes stories

See also

Sportiest Londoners live in the wealthier south west boroughs

How the obesity rate doubled for the class of 2007

Size matters – and it depends where you live

 

Drug deaths hit their highest level for 15 years

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The number of people killed by drug abuse in London is at its highest level this century.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 298 people died due to misuse of illegal substances in 2015, the highest number since 1999. It is also the highest death rate since the late 90s – 35 per million residents.

The rate of drug deaths has been increasing since 2012 after a downward trend this century from high points in the late 90s.  But although it has risen, the capital still has the second lowest mortality rate of all the regions in England and Wales. Only the East Midlands has a lower rate than London. The highest death rates are now in the North East, North West, Wales, and Yorkshire and Humberside.

Drug death rate regions-2

This is a turnaround from 1993, when the current data record begins.  London had the highest mortality rate and accounted for 23% of all deaths.  In 2015 that had halved to 12% of deaths as the problem of illegal drug misuse has become more widespread.

Drug death comparison-2

Across London, Haringey and central areas of Westminster, Lambeth, Southwark Camden, Islington and Tower Hamlets have that most serious problems.  The data at borough level is gathered for three-year periods due to very low numbers in some areas.  From 2013 to 2015, 43 people died in Haringey and 42 in both Westminster and Lambeth.

map drug deeaths 2015-2

There were fewer than 20 deaths in the period in most of the outlying boroughs, and in Merton, Barking and Dagenham and among the small population of the City of London the number of deaths was in single figures.

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See also

Low drug-related death rates hide middle-aged heroin problem

Teenage survey finds that Richmond has highest level of cannabis use

Violence, disruption and drugs – why 20,000 pupils were excluded from school last year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smoking on the rise in six boroughs but the city is stubbing out the habit

Smoking-2Against the general trend of both the city and the country, smoking has increased in six boroughs since 2012.

The latest data gathered by the Office for National Statistics through its large-scale Annual Population Survey reveals that the rate of smoking in 2015 compared to 2012 was up in Harrow, Haringey, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston, Newham and Tower Hamlets.

The biggest increase, of nearly 14%, was in Harrow, but the overall level of smoking remains low in the borough. Haringey, Newham and Tower Hamlets experienced an increase on rates that are among the highest in London.

smoking change 12-15-2

Although the increases are mostly small they are significant in the context of falling rates across the rest of the capital.  The average rate for London has gone down from 18.2% who said they were smokers in 2012 to 16.3% in 2015.  In Redbridge the rate fell by more than 30% over that period, according to the ONS figures. There were also steep declines in Brent and Bromley.

The data does not reveal the reason behind these changes.  It may be the consequence of changing habits or changes in the make up of the population in areas. It may be due to people aswering questions more honestly, as the survey relies on individuals to define themselves as smokers.

The rate of smoking in London is among the lowest for any region in England.  Across England 16.9% of people say that they are smokers. The rate is lower than that in 20 London boroughs.  The lowest rate in London is 11.5% in Redbridge, but it is nearly double that in Haringey where 22% of people said they smoked in 2015.  In five boroughs – Haringey, Lambeth, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham –  two or more in every ten people smoke.

Smoking rates-2

Apart from Redbridge, Richmond, Brent and Bromley all have a rate of smoking at around 12% or lower.

There are a number of measures of smoking carried out across the country.  A survey at GP surgeries of people over 15 carried out over two year periods found the level of smoking in London fractionally higher in 2014/15 than the most recent ONS data, It also recorded small rises in a handful of boroughs.

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See Also

Police taking a relaxed approach to ban on smoking in cars

Low birth weight babies in Tower Hamlets 60% above London average

Teenage survey finds that Richmond has highest level of cannabis use

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broader positive data behind the pollution near primary schools row

aerial river dawn

The revelation that a quarter of London’s primary schools are in areas that had dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide in 2010 is a deeply worrying statistic and led to accusations from the newly elected mayor, Sadiq Khan, that his predecessor, Boris Johnson, had buried a 2013 report.

It was commissioned by the Greater London Authority and its findings make alarming reading, especially for those living and working in inner London. More than 2.2 million people were exposed to level of NO₂ above the EU safe limit in 2010 and this included 137,000 children in 433 primary schools.

But the report also contained some surprisingly positive projections on the speed at which the exposure levels will fall by 2020. The projections were based on emissions data from the GLA and pollution mapping data from the Environmental Research Group at King’s College.  The report concluded that by the end of 2015 the population exposed to harmful levels of NO₂ will have fallen to just over a million and will drop significantly further by 2020 with air quality objectives achieved in outer London, at least.

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NO₂ is particularly harmful to children and the report identified 433 schools, mostly in central London, where levels were unsafe in 2010 – the red dots on the map below.

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From Analysing Air Pollution Exposure in London

The situation is considerably better now, if the projections made by the researchers are correct. In 2010, 137,000 children aged 4-11 were affected but that should now be below 50,000. By 2020 the situation will improve further.

NO2 near primaries-2

The researchers also looked at pollution compared to deprivation levels, giving the report added political potency. They found that most of the schools with the highest levels of NO₂ were in districts with the highest levels of deprivation.

This is not due to any causal link between deprivation and pollution but due to the location of the schools near to very busy main roads. These areas may be home to more deprived families because property and rental costs are lower close to busy highways.

Many of the worst affected schools are in areas where poor people are resident but they’re also very close to where bankers and brokers work or where theatre-goers flock each evening – this is a central London problem. High nitrogen dioxide levels are bad for everyone, and as previously reported by Urbs, responsible for thousands of deaths.

There’s a lot of politics in this row over whether the bad news in the report was suppressed.  The new mayor is seeking to show himself as the new broom.  He has hit the ground running on the environment saying that he’ll extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone beyond the Congestion Charge area, as far as the North and South Circular roads, and he’ll introduce it early, in 2017.  Drivers of polluting vehicles will face an extra charge for entering the zone.

As the ‘buried’ report shows, London has a big pollution problem but is heading in the right direction. The task for the mayor will be balancing that progress with the economic growth of the capital as more jobs and people add to the environmental challenge.

Source data

See also

Don’t just blame drivers for harmful NO2 pollution

Election Issues: Balancing economic success with green ambitions

Nearly 9,500 deaths a year – study reveals impact of air pollution

Tests suggest NO2 pollution levels may be higher at child height

Half of fire brigade call outs are false alarms and hospitals are repeated culprits

© Michaelpuche | Dreamstime.com - Fire Service. Photo-2Some of London’s leading hospitals are calling out the fire brigade the equivalent of 3 times a week with false alarms.

Fire Officers arrived at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead 120 times last year only to find out it was a false alarm, according to data from the London Fire Brigade.  St George’s University Hospital in Tooting recorded 111 false alarm incidents.

This has been a consistent problem for a number of years.  The data shows that in 2013 St George’s had 138 false alarms, rising to 165 in 2014. The Royal Free recorded 137 in 2014 and 141 in 2013.  Each time at least 2 fire engines were sent to the hospital.

While these 2 hospitals have the poorest record for bogus alerts others also seem to have a problem. The figures for last year show 63 incidents at the Homerton University Hospital in Hackney, 57 at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, 48 at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield and 46 at University College Hospital on the Euston Road.

London hospitals were responsible for 1,181 false alarms in 2015, and this has been an improvement.  In 2014 it was 1,718 incidents and in 2013, 2,407.

The London Fire Brigade charges £295 for each false alarm if there are more than 10 incidents in a year, so hard-pressed hospitals are paying tens of thousands of pounds each year.

False alarms have a huge impact on the costs and resources of the London Fire Brigade. Last year it dealt with 95,540 incidents and nearly half of them were false alarms.

Most are incidents at family homes, followed by sheltered housing and blocks of flats.  Offices accounted for 3,428 incidents, or 7%, and shops were to blame for nearly 4%. While hospitals make up just 2.5% of the total number last year it is the repeated call outs that are striking.

The vast majority are triggered by alarm systems and recorded by the London Fire Brigade as AFAs (automated false alarms).  Many alarm systems are monitored by the manufacturer or service provider who alert the fire brigade when one goes off.  This is often caused by a malfunction.

The London Fire Brigade says that dealing with AFAs reduces its capacity to deal with real emergencies and can interrupt training or community safety work.

Source data

See also

Fire brigade dealing with weekly call outs to lift obese people

A fifth of the blazes tackled by fire fighters are started on purpose

Fire service is called to rescue hundreds of cats and it costs thousands

 

 

Suicide rises but London still has the lowest rates in England

despairThe number of people committing suicide is at its highest this century.  The latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that 5,122 people took their own lives in 2014, the most since 1999.

551 of them were in London, where the rate of suicide went up by 4% on the previous year.  But the longer term trend is down and the capital has the lowest suicide rates of any region in England and Wales.

Men are more than 3 times more likely than women to kill themselves.  The general rate of suicide in the London is 8.3 per 100,000 people. For men it is 13.2 and for women 3.8. For both genders, London has the lowest rates.

Suicide rate national

The figures include all people over 15 who are officially recorded by a coroner to have committed suicide, or whose death has been caused by an undetermined injury.  The ONS combines these to get an accurate suicide rate as research has shown that most of the undetermined deaths are likely to be suicides.

The increase in London between 2013 to 2014 was largely caused by higher numbers in Southwark, Barnet, Haringey and Croydon.

The City of London has by far the highest rate, but this is based on a very small number of people. Outside the City, Haringey had the highest rate in 2014, followed by Islington, Tower Hamlets, Southwark and Hammersmith and Fulham.

Suicide rate map

 

Rates are a lot lower in outlying boroughs including Harrow, Ealing, Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston.

Source data

See also

Low drug-related death rates hide middle-aged heroin problem

Anxious, unhappy, dissatisfied with life? Perhaps you live in Hackney or Barking?

Well-being and wealth – how South West London soars ahead of the rest

For help and more information about suicide contact Samaritans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most Londoners are within a 15 minute car journey of hospital

© Slawekkozaks | Dreamstime.com - Entrance Accident & Emergency Department Royal London Hospital Photo-2

Photo: © Slawekkozaks | Dreamstime.com

The area near Hampton Court Palace is a fine riverside location to live, but it’s not so good if you need to drive to a hospital.

The Hampton neighbourhood is identified in government statistics as the place with the longest average journey time by car to get to a hospital in London.  The average journey for the 826 residents of this area is 28 minutes, almost double the London average.

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Google Maps, contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2013

Outer London boroughs like Richmond, Havering and Barking and Dagenham all have longer average journey times than central areas.  The average journey by car to hospital for residents in these areas is 17 minutes. In Hammersmith and Fulham and the City of London it is just 11 minutes.

The added factor for Richmond is that there is no hospital in the borough. The nearest are in Kingston or Hammersmith.

A comparison of the 4,600 local neighbourhoods, or LSOA, as they are referred in statistical studies reveals fairly uniform journey times across London for a car journey to hospital.

Car journey to hoptial

But if you are without a car and relying on public transport or walking to visit a sick relative or friend then your journey is more of a postcode lottery.  The average time in London is 28 minutes.  It’s a fraction of that in the City, but in the Rainham and Wennington areas of Havering the journey takes nearly an hour.

Source data

See also

Availability of public transport below average in all outer boroughs

Thousands of children sent to hospital because of tooth decay

Areas where pensioners most likely to be lonely identified

 

 

More than 550 police officers on sick leave due to stress

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Photo: Sagar Simkhada ┃Shutterstock.com

There as been a big rise in the number of police officers off work with stress over the last 10 years.  In the most recent financial year to March 2015, 557 officers were signed off work with stress, an increase from 405 in 2004-05.

The data, revealed by the Metropolitan Police in response to a Freedom of Information request, has 3 categories– stress, stress-related illness, and post traumatic stress disorder.

The largest category of absence through stress has risen by an average of 5% per year over a 10 year period.

Stress related absence-2

The numbers are lowest for post traumatic stress disorder, though it is the category which has seen the most significant increase, rising from 5 to 29 cases last year, perhaps due to greater recognition of the condition.

PTSD is caused by witnessing stressful, frightening or distressing events and sufferers may relive the traumatic events through flashback and nightmares.

While 557 is just 1.7% of the Met’s 31,780 officers their absence does have an impact. Previous information released by the Met reveals that in 2014, 24,000 working days were lost due to illness caused by stress.

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See also

As the Met faces cuts to officers, how many patrol your borough?

The Met fails to reflect the face of people it’s policing

Police say violent crime is up, but it may be the way it’s recorded

Fire brigade dealing with weekly call outs to lift obese people

© Michaelpuche | Dreamstime.com - Fire Service. Photo-2The London Fire Brigade is called to helps lift a severely obese person in their home at least once a week.

Data published by the brigade for the past three financial years shows that fire officers were involved in more than 200 incidents which are referred to as assisting bariatric people.

This type of incident is not formally recorded by the LFB but classified as ‘other services’, as are animal rescues.  They are identified by the call information and messages transmitted during the incidents.

The numbers for the past three financial years are consistent and fairly evening spread across London.  The largest number of incidents was recorded in Croydon.

The majority of calls came from the Ambulance Service who needed help to deal with someone who was too heavy to lift.   In other incidents fire officers have rescued a person who became wedged in a bath and others trapped in cars or buses.

In a small number of call outs fire officers have helped lift people in hospitals and nursing homes.

Source data

See also

Fire service is called to rescue hundreds of cats and it costs thousands

A fifth of the blazes tackled by fire fighters are started on purpose

How the obesity rate doubled for the class of 2007