• Fri. May 24th, 2024

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Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 11.32.15Studies show that older people who walk two miles a day are almost twice as likely to live longer and be healthier than those who walk less than a mile a day according to the latest report from Newcastle’s Director Public Health

In his Annual Report to Newcastle City Council Professor Eugene Milne warns that life expectancy and healthy life expectancy in Newcastle have fallen – flattening out and possibly even reversing a long term trend of improvement. But he adds that simply walking more could be the key to staying healthy and living longer.

Between 2011 and 2014 Life expectancy for men In Newcastle fell from 78.2 to 77.9 years and healthy life expectancy fell from 59.8 to 57.8 years.

For women, life expectancy rose slightly from 81.8 to 81.9 years, but healthy life expectancy fell from 60.9 to 59.9 years.

The gap in life expectancy between Newcastle and England which had been narrowing for some years, grew slightly wider between 2012-14.

Professor Milne argues that these changes cannot be explained as a statistical blip. The failure of last year’s flu virus will be a major factor, together with increasing pressures on health and social care services

But Professor Milne also highlights some good news – particularly the reduction in smoking prevalence in Newcastle which has fallen below 20% for the first time in living memory. Smoking during pregnancy and teenage smoking rates have also fallen

Professor Milne stresses the importance of working across all areas of life in the city to make Newcastle a healthy place – such as the way parks and green spaces can be a focus for health and wellbeing, how planning and transport infrastructure and speed control can create a healthy urban environment, and how individual and community action improves quality of life.

And Professor Milne demonstrates how taking small steps can lead to giant strides in improving health and wellbeing. Simply walking more can make a massive difference to people’s health and life expectancy – particularly for older people.

Professor Milne said: “Studies show that those who walk more are much less likely to suffer cancer, heart disease or stroke. If walking were a drug, being promoted to improve the health of older people, it would be the most valuable and profitable drug in the world.

“Small increases in walking, brought about by changes in our living environment have the potential to bring about substantial change in the health of the population.

“Newcastle is already seeing substantial efforts to change its transport and cycling infrastructure, and these changes are pivotal to the way that our city’s population will become healthier and enjoy better wellbeing in the years ahead.

By admin