Health and well being

Analysis of health and well being indicators highlights that on a number of factors, residents of Blackburn with Darwen have on average worse health than other areas of the country.

All Office for National Statisitics data is repoduced under the terms of the Open Government Licence (OGL) and UK Government Licensing Framework

Residents health

2001 Census data identifies that 20.3% of the borough’s residents have a limiting long term illness, which is on a par with the North West figure of 20.7% and above the England and Wales figure of 17.9%. The 2001 Census also asked residents if they felt their health was generally good, fairly good or not good. The proportion of residents classifying themselves in each group is similar to England and Wales as a whole, with around two out of every three residents stating that their health was good.

Low birth weights

Birth weight is considered low if it is below 2,500 grams (2.5 kg or 5.5lbs).

The proportion of births that are low birth weight is important because low weight babies tend to have poorer health during childhood and during their adult years.

Infant birth weight is closely linked to maternal health, lifestyle, the ethnicity of the mother and age (teenage mothers tend to have babies with a lower birth rate). The main modifiable factors which affect birth weight are smoking and poor nutrition before and during pregnancy plus deprivation experienced by mothers.

In Blackburn with Darwen the proportion of babies born with low weight is significantly higher than the regional and national figures. 2010 data highlights that 9.2% of live births were considered to be of a low birth weight, compared to 6.8% in the North West and 6.9% in England.

Teenage pregnancy

Reducing teenage pregnancy is a key central government priority and a key issue for the local authority and the primary care trust. Teenage pregancy rates within the borough show a downward trend, however, although fluctuating due to relatively small numbers, rates are generally above those of England and Wales.

Life expectancy

Life expectancy data from the early 1990s onwards has shown that in Blackburn with Darwen, resident’s average life expectancy has been below that of the England and Wales and North West averages. Generally, life expectancy for males and females in the borough has seen a gradual increase, although this increase has not been to the same rate as in England and Wales as a whole. While life expectancy is increasing both in England and Wales and Blackburn with Darwen, the gap is widening.

Life expectancy data is produced aggregated to three year periods. For the period 2007 to 2009, life expectancy for males in Blackburn with Darwen was 74.4 years compared to 78.25 in England, ranking the borough 321 out of the 326 local authorities in England.
Female life expectancy for the borough for the same period was 79.3 years, compared to 82.31 years in England. This ranks the borough 321 out of the 326 local authorities in England.


Blackburn with Darwen has a higher ratio of deaths than would be expected if the borough had the same age and sex mortality rates as England and Wales.

Circulatory diseases (strokes, heart attacks) and cancers are two of the principal causes of death in the borough of Blackburn with Darwen. Directly standardised mortality rates (DSR) for these causes of death show the rate of deaths per 100,000 population. They take into account the age structure of a population by presenting death rates of an area for the European standard population. This allows easier comparison between areas with populations that have different age structures.

The directly standardised all cause mortality rate for the borough is 400.70. That is, if the borough had the same age profile as the European standard population, there would be 400.70 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 287.77 in England as a whole.
Looking specifically at mortality from circulatory diseases for people aged less than 75 years, for the period 2007 to 2009 Blackburn with Darwen had a DSR of 107.47. This compares to 70.49 deaths per 100,000 people for England as a whole.

The directly standardised mortality rate from cancers for residents aged less than 75 years, for the period 2007 to 2009 is 135.49 per 100,000 people, compared to 112.07 for England and Wales as a whole.

Infant mortality rates and perinatal mortality rates (which are still births and deaths at under one week) in the borough fluctuate due to the small numbers of infant and perinatal deaths in the borough. For the period 2007-09, the infant mortality rate was 7.1 deaths per thousand live births, compared to 5.0 for the North West and 4.7 for England. 

Physical activity

Physical activity, as defined as taking part in sport or physical recreation, at least three times a week for 30 minutes or more, in Blackburn with Darwen is one of the lowest in England and the lowest in the North West.

Overall, for the financial year period 2009/2010, the proportion of adults taking part in physical activity for 30minutes or more, at least three times week was 18.4%. This compares to 16.5% in England and 17.7% in the North West.

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