Report claims shorter, unhealthier lives in Kent

A woman looks out to sea on a Kent beach
In some parts of Kent, life expectancy is below the average for England [Getty Images]

A new report says Kent’s two million residents are living shorter, unhealthier lives, particularly in coastal communities.

Obesity, depression and mental health issues and domestic violence are all on the rise, according to the Kent and Medway Integrated Care Strategy.

The report contains input from bodies including Kent County Council (KCC), Medway Council and the NHS, and will be discussed at the Kent Health and Wellbeing Board on Thursday.

The challenges facing the county are set against the backdrop of a population growing faster than the national average.

The report states: "Life expectancy is no longer increasing. In Medway, Swale and Thanet, it is below the average for England.

“In all areas (apart from Thanet), the gap in life expectancy is wider for men than for women.”

The report acknowledges Kent is an attractive place to live with close links to London and mainland Europe with some affluent areas, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

More than two thirds of adults are overweight or obese while physical activity levels for children and young people are not increasing, says the document.

It records that the “prevalence” of smoking in Swale is far higher at 21% than 12% in West Kent.

The strategy does not offer specific solutions to issues it raises.

But it does state: “To improve health and wellbeing, we must tackle the wider determinants of health and address increasing health inequalities.

“We can only do this if we all play our role and work together to maximise our collective impact."

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