BRADFORD is getting worse in a number of key health and wellbeing measures, from healthy life expectancy to the number of adults getting their five-a-day fruit and veg.

On Thursday, Bradford Council’s Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee will be told that in many areas of public health, Bradford is not only lagging behind its neighbours, but performing worse than it was a few years ago.

The number of overweight children and percentage of working-age population qualified to NVQ Level 3 or above are among the areas flagged as a cause for concern.

The committee will be given an update from the Health and Wellbeing Board, a partnership responsible for health in the Bradford district.

A report to the committee lists a number of health and wellbeing indicators, and details how Bradford is performing compared to previous years, and to neighbouring areas.

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Out of 41 indicators, 21 are marked red, meaning that Bradford’s performance is getting worse, or performance is unchanged and is worse than statistical neighbours. Even in some areas where Bradford is showing improvements – such as air quality on some of the district’s most congested roads – the district still has a ‘red’ rating due to figures still being above EU directives.

Among the most worrying ‘red’ areas is healthy life expectancy at birth for both males and females. This looks at how many years of good health people born in Bradford are expected to live. The most recent figures show that for men the average healthy life expectancy is just 60.4, down from 61.8 the previous year, and for women it is now 59, down from 61.1 last year.

Other areas that are given a ‘red’ rating are:

l 16 to 17-year-olds not in education, employment, or training, up from 6 per cent to 6.5 per cent

l children in care whose SDQ (strengths and difficulties questionnaire) scores are a cause for concern

l infant mortality

l improving access to psychological therapies recovery rate

l early intervention for psychosis

l premature mortality in people with a severe mental illness

l adults meeting the five-a-day fruit and veg recommendation, down from 54.7 per cent to 47.4 per cent

l completion of drug treatment for opiate users

l childhood obesity

l management of long term conditions

l people qualified to NVQ level 3+

l fuel poverty

l employment rate for people with a mental illness.

Areas where Bradford is improving include the percentage of children breastfed at six to eight weeks (up from 40.1 per cent to 41.9 per cent), teenage pregnancy, and percentage of people aged 16 to 64 in employment.

Despite being given a ‘red’ rating, Bradford has improved in some areas, but is still lagging behind targets and the figures of neighbouring areas.

Such areas include the percentage of people using outdoor spaces for exercise or health reasons, which has risen from 8.4 per cent to 12.4 per cent, but is still behind neighbouring areas.

And the percentage of five-year-olds who are free from dental decay has improved, down from 62.5 to 60.2, but is still rated amber due to the figure being higher than neighbouring areas.

Sarah Muckle, Director of Public Health for Bradford Council, said: “While life expectancy (how long people can expect to live on average) is improving in the Bradford district, it is true that healthy life expectancy (the average number of years those people can expect to live in good health) has fallen, particularly for women.

“This measure is based on self-reported data and is prone to variation year-on-year. It is too early to determine whether this is a significant change for Bradford.

“Healthy life expectancy is important for us and remains a priority. There is no single cause and therefore no single course of action to ensure people live well for longer. A range of approaches are needed to tackle the key causes such as poor diet, smoking, low levels of physical activity, smoking and alcohol.

“Along with our other health partners, we continue to work with local communities to encourage and support people to make better choices and live well; while also considering the environment people live in and wider social influences on their health.”

A spokesperson from the three NHS Bradford district and Craven clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) said: “We are making improvements in many areas of health and wellbeing but we recognise that some areas are more challenging.

"We are working with Bradford Council to deliver our joint health and wellbeing strategy.

"Just one of the things that we are doing is making it easier for people to live a healthier, more active life through our joint Living Well programme.”