BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in March 2007We've left it here for reference.More information

7 February 2011
Accessibility help
Text only

BBC Homepage

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Health Profile - West Midlands

Smoking - hopeful signs


27% of men in the West Midlands smoke. This is the second lowest prevalence of any region for smoking.

26% of women in the West Midlands smoke, which is the second highest (equal) among regions.

The mortality rates from cancer and circulatory diseases are showing clear signs of reduction.

Sexual health - a bleak forecast


HIV diagnoses continue to rise, with the highest rates in urban areas.

Chlamydia rates are rising both in men and women, especially in those aged 16 to 24 years.

Although the number of cases is still relatively small, syphilis rates rose twenty fold between 2000 and 2004.

Obesity - a worrying trend


23% of men are obese and a further 43% overweight. This places the West Midlands as fourth in the rank of Government Office regions.

The West Midlands has the highest percentage of obese and overweight women of any Government Office region. 29% of women are obese and a further 31% overweight.

15.8% of children in the West Midlands are obese which places the region third highest after the North East and London.

The main factors associated with these rising levels of obesity, particularly among children, are poor diet and an inactive lifestyle.

The local population - diverse, varied and getting younger

Spaghetti Junction

The West Midlands has a population of 5.3 million, which is rich and diverse. The city of Birmingham, for example, is one of the most youthful cities in the country, with a high rate of 18-24 year olds. It has an ethnically diverse population.

In other parts of the West Midlands, such as Herefordshire there are large rural areas, characterised by a much older, whiter population, but with significant pockets of rural deprivation as well as affluence.

Teenage pregnancy rates are high in the West Midlands.

Life Expectancy - gloomy statistics

Elderly woman

Parts of Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire have some of the highest life expectancy in the region, four years more than that of the urban conurbations of Birmingham, the Black Country, Stoke and Coventry.

There is a significant difference of over 4 years in life expectancy for a boy born in one part of the region compared to another. A boy born in Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust area will have the lowest life expectancy in the West Midlands at 72.2 years, whilst a boy born in Solihull Primary Care Trust area will have the highest at 76.7 years.

Infant mortality is a particular problem in the West Midlands with wards like Heart of Birmingham having a rate over twice the national average.

Information provided by NHS West Midlands.
Last updated: 8th February 2007

NHS West Midlands answer our questions on the state of public health in the region.

Related Links

NHS West Midlands
The website of NHS West Midlands.
The West Midlands Public Health Observatory - a website responding to regional and local health intelligence needs.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites
NHS West Midlands

NHS West Midlands

  • NHS West Midlands is responsible for the development of health services in the West Midlands, on behalf of the Department of Health.
  • Its role is to make sure that services are fit for purpose, that quality and improvement targets are met and that NHS organisations in the region are providing good quality services to the local communities.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy