Birmingham has been named as one of the country’s worst places for early deaths.
A new Public Health England study revealed the city was in the bottom 20 per cent for so-called premature deaths, classed as those before the age of 75.
The statistics showed Birmingham was rated 120th of England’s 150 local authorities.
Walsall and Sandwell also performed badly, ranking 111th and 136th respectively.
The report linked early death numbers to poverty – with leafy Solihull recording far fewer and returning the 25th best results in England.
The figures revealed residents in Birmingham, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Walsall had a much higher than average chance of dying from diseases including cancer and heart, lung and liver disease.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt attacked the “shocking” variation in early death rates. “People’s lives are being needlessly cut short and that cannot continue unchecked,” he said.
“I want areas to use the data to identify public health challenges like smoking, drinking and obesity and to take action to help achieve our ambition for saving 30,000 lives a year by 2020.”
Birmingham recorded 8,986 premature deaths between 2009 and 2011, a death rate of 321 people for every 100,000 residents.
The biggest killer was cancer, which killed 115 people prematurely per 100,000 residents, followed by heart disease and stroke, which killed 79 people prematurely out of 100,000.
But there was one chink of light as the figures showed Birmingham recorded lower levels of premature death than cities with similar deprivation levels, like Liverpool, Manchester and Hull.
In Solihull, there were 1,679 premature deaths between 2009 and 2011, a death rate of 229 per 100,000 residents.