The link between poverty and poor health has been graphically exposed in a report showing Solihull men live almost four years longer than neighbours in Birmingham.
A Department of Health report revealed Birmingham residents were more likely to die early from heart disease or cancer and suffer from diabetes than the national average.
The figures show dramatic differences between the city and Solihull, where incomes are above average.
However, Birmingham is a healthier place to live than Manchester, where poverty is greater.
The "health profiles" were compiled by the Department of Health as a tool for local Strategic Health Authorities and city councils to use when deciding where to allocate funds.
The average Birmingham man lives 74 years and 9 months while life expectancy for women is 80 years and one month.
In Solihull life expectancy for men is 78 years and six months, and for women 82 years and seven months.
But Birmingham is a healthier city than Manchester, where life expectancy is 72 years and six months for men, and 78 years three months for women.
The health gaps appear to mirror income inequalities. In Birmingham, 23.4 per cent of the population qualifies for means-tested benefits, while in Solihull the figure is 9.6 per cent and in Manchester, 27.5.
In Birmingham, 120 people out of 100,000 aged under 75 die from heart dis-ease or strokes each year. In Solihull, the figure is 84. In Manchester, it is 151. And 130 people out of 100,000 die early from cancer in Birmingham, compared with 112 in Solihull and 165 in Manchester.
One statistic where Birmingham does well is alcohol consumption. Binge drinking is lower than the English average. The city also has slightly lower levels of obesity.
A spokesman for the Department of Health West Midlands said: "One of the challenges we face in the West Midlands is that the region is so diverse.
"The West Midlands faces significant challenges in the variations in health inequalities that continue.
"For example, if we take a train ride and leave Lichfield Trent Valley station, we observe a high life expectancy of over 83 years, but after Chester Road station, we pass through wards with progressively lower life expectancy, until we reach New Street station for which the ward has a life expectancy of only 73 years.
"In 2006, we published Choosing Health in the West Midlands, a health strategy which examined why these health inequalities occur and what it is local areas can do."
The Government was focusing on preventative health and encouraging healthier lifestyles by cutting down on smoking and drinking and by eating healthier food, he said.
Public Health minister Caroline Flint said: "Information about health and wellbeing is essential for assessing the needs of the local population and monitoring how well health improvement strategies are working."
Conservative leader David Cameron pledged to put public health at the heart of his health policies, as he spoke to the NHS Confederation conference in east London.
He said: "Britain is facing a real crisis in public health. We have the sorry distinction of being one of the worst countries in Europe for obesity and sexually transmitted infections. I want the DoH to become the DoPH - the Department of Public Health."