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7 February 2011
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Health Profile - North West England

Alcohol - most alcohol related deaths in the country


We have the second highest levels of binge drinkers in England - 23% of the population.

More people in the North West die from alcohol related illnesses than any where else in the country - the rate for this region is double that for the East of England.

Over three quarters (76%) of men and 60% of women in the North West have drank alcohol in the last week while 22% of men and 12% of women drank on 5 or more days.

In the North West, over 1.3 million or 29% of us consume enough alcohol to be harmful or hazardous to our health. This is higher than any other region in England and Wales.

We also have the highest number of alcohol related hospital stays - chronic liver disease is becoming a particular problem amongst younger women.

Obesity - 66% of men are obese


Two thirds of men and nearly 60% of women are now overweight or obese.

If the current trends continue, 1/3 of boys and girls under the age of 11 will be obese or overweight by 2010.

We have the second highest rate for diabetes in England - and this trend is rising.

Mental Health - highest drug misuse in England


The North West has the highest levels of drug misuse compared to the rest of England.

More people in the North West have long term mental health problems than anywhere else in the country.

Life Expectancy - second worst in the country for men and women

Elderly woman

We have the second highest rate in the country for early deaths from cancer.

Men and women in the North West have the second highest rates for early deaths from circulatory disease.

The North West has the second highest death rate from smoking related illnesses.

The negative effect of alcohol on life expectancy has increased by nearly 25% among both males and females between 1995 and 2004 and now, on average, North West men can expect to lose nearly 11 months of life through alcohol and females over 6 months.

Life expectancy for men and women is the second worst in the country; women in the North West on average are dying 2.3 years earlier in the South West; and men are dying 2.7 years earlier than in the South West.

Information provided by Dr Ruth Hussey OBE, Regional Director of Public Health NHS North West/DH North West Public Health Team.
Last updated: 11th January 2007

Dr Ruth Hussey answers our questions on the state of public health in the north west.

Related Links

NHS North West
NHS site focusing on health care provision in north west England.
PH Observatory
One of nine regional organisations providing local agencies, populations and networks with public health data and information to inform and shape health.

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Dr Ruth Hussey

Dr Ruth Hussey,


  • Ruth is the Regional Director of Public Health/SHA Medical Director at NHS North West.
  • Her remit includes health protection, health improvement and health inequalities.
  • She is particularly interested in inequalities in health and the importance of involving communities in decisions about their own health care.

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