Residents in Darlington's affluent west end live longer because they can cook, says councillor (From The Advertiser Series)
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Residents in Darlington's affluent west end live longer because they can cook, says councillor
RESIDENTS living in the most affluent areas of Darlington live on average 13 years longer than those living in the most deprived areas, figures have revealed.
Between 2007 and 2009, the Central ward had the lowest life expectancy rates in the town, with men expected to live for 70 years, and women 75 years, with Bank Top following close behind with men expected to live until they are 69, and women 78.
In contrast, men living in Park West could enjoy a life expectancy of 82 years, and women 87 years, and men in the College ward had an average life expectancy of 77, and women 81.
Councillor Heather Scott, leader of the Conservative group at the town hall, said although the west end of Darlington, which includes the Hummersknott, Mowden, College and Park West wards, is often thought of as a wealthy part of the town, money is not the reason its residents are living longer.
“As the councillor for Park West I am often asked the question why is it that people in the west end of the town seem to live longer,” she told a meeting of the council’s health and partnerships scrutiny committee.
“There is this impression that it is because they are financially better off. That isn’t true, they are asset rich but cash poor.
“Quite a lot of them were of a generation where they were taught to cook at school - there is less use of takeaway food.
“Just because they are living longer it is not necessarily because they are richer. Somehow or another we need to educate people that it is cheaper to buy fresh food and vegetables than buying takeaways.”
Councillor Alan Macnab, ward member for North Road, called for ‘intensive support’ for the town’s deprived wards, saying: “The gap between the prosperous is getting wider. What we need to do is do something about the deprived wards.”
With poor diet playing a factor in premature deaths and obesity becoming a rising problem in Darlington, the committee agreed more needed to be done to educate people on healthy eating and cooking from scratch.
Dr Jenny Steel, primary care strategy clinical lead at Darlington Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “They do not teach basic science in schools, you have got to go back to basics, getting them cooking and excited about food.
“They (children) can make the box for the pizza, but they should know how to make the pizza as well.”
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