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Health News

Do you live in Wokingham? Get ready for a long life...

The affluent Berkshire town of Wokingham is perhaps the closest England has to a Swedish-like nirvana after figures reveal that its residents can expect to live long, healthy lives.

Public health experts will seek to examine how the market town has successfully targeted its more deprived communities when health inequalities between the poorest and richest people are generally widening.

Today's report is the second by Sir Professor Michael Marmot's epidemiology team at University College London which helps evaluate the impact of local and national policies on public health.

The team has identified six key areas that most affect people's health and impact on inequalities, including early child development; educational, training and work opportunities; disease prevention; minimum income levels and creating sustainable communities.

Life expectancy for men in Westminster varies by a staggering 17 years – almost twice the England average – where those in the most socially deprived communities can only expect to live until the age of 67. And the worst towns and cities for poor women are Darlington, Bolton and Middlesbrough where life expectancy varies by 11 years, compared with a country average of 5.9 years.

Child development – physical, emotional, linguistic and intellectual – in the first five years is widely regarded as crucial for long-term education, health and employment outcomes. The latest figures from early 2011 show that only three-fifths of five-year-olds across England were judged to have developed adequately by their teachers.