Health profiles for every local authority and region across England were published today by the Department of Health and the Association of Public Health Observatories.
People in England can expect to live longer and healthier lives, but the health gap between the most affluent and most deprived wards within each local authority remains unacceptable.
Key national findings show that:
Deaths from smoking-related diseases continue to fall across England, to 225 per 100,000 (aged 35+) in 2004-06 from 234 in 2003-05.
The death rate from smoking in the local authority with the lowest rate (139 per 100,000 in East Dorset) is less than half that in the local authority with the highest death rate from smoking (355 per 100,000 in Knowsley). In general, smoking is still causing a higher rate of death in the north of England compared to the south.
Life expectancy from birth continues to improve across England for both men and women, but there is still a wide variation across the country.
Men in the local authority with the highest life expectancy (Kensington and Chelsea, 83.1 years) can expect to live 10 years longer than those in the local authority with the lowest life expectancy (Manchester, 73 years).
Women in the local authority with the highest life expectancy (Kensington and Chelsea, 87.2 years) can expect to live 9 years longer than those in the local authority with the lowest life expectancy (Liverpool, 78.3 years).
Public health minister Dawn Primarolo said: "Inequalities around the country are stark, but the NHS and local authorities can use these profiles to target local health hotspots with effective measures to make a real difference. I am confident that we can confront the issues facing communities head on and make health inequalities everyone's business."
The government recently announced its renewed commitment to tackling the stark inequalities in England with the launch of its Health Inequalities: Progress and Next Steps report. The document sets out clear and achievable measures for the NHS and Local Authorities to implement.