Friday, 22 June 2007

Binge Drinking in Darlington

This morning, the latest set of health statistics on Darlington was published. While Darlington is better than the national average for homelessness, violent crime and road injuries and deaths, it is significantly worse than the national average on most other measures, such as income, childhood poverty, teenage pregnancy, life expectancy, healthy eating and early deaths from heart disease and strokes.
Many of these problems are not specific to Darlington and will reflect the region and its socio-economic profile. Indeed, on many of these measures we perform better than the regional average. This does not mean the Council, PCT and partners should be complacent, far from it. There is clearly a need for better education and incentives to encourage more people to take preventative measures for the sake of their health.
On two measures, however, I can see no good reason for Darlington to be so far below the national average. Binge drinking in adults and hospital stays due to alcohol are our worst two performance indicators. According to the figures, binge drinking is a major health problem in our region as a whole, not just in our town.
Why is this? Surely we can't still blame it on an historical culture based on work in heavy industry. Judging by Skinnergate on a Friday night, the problem is acute among kids who've probably never had more than a Saturday job in Sainsbury's.

1 comment:

miketually said...

There are some scary statistics there. I'm surprised that I've made it to 29!