More than 1,000 deaths in Birmingham could be avoided every year if people led healthier lives, new figures have revealed.

A total of 6,578 people in our city died from avoidable causes between 2015 and 2017 - the equivalent of six every day.

It means more than one in every four deaths seen in Birmingham at that time could have been avoided (16%).

The figures were published by the Office for National Statistics.

A death is counted as “avoidable” if it could have been prevented by effective and timely healthcare, better public health policies, or a combination of both.

Avoidable deaths can include those from various types of cancer, heart disease, alcohol, drugs, and childbirth complications - as well as accidents, suicides and murders.

As many as 5,386 of the total number of avoidable deaths in Birmingham were linked with behaviour and lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, lack of exercise and poor diet.

It means making healthier choices could prolong the lives of five people a day in Birmingham - although other issues, such as deprivation and environmental factors, may also be at play.

The 5,386 preventable deaths that may have been caused by unhealthy life choices also work out as 221 for every 100,000 people living in Birmingham - a much higher rate than the national average.

Across England, 280,665 people deaths were attributed to causes such as behaviour and lifestyle factors, socioeconomic status and environmental factors - 182 for every 100,000 people.

Nationally, men are much more likely to suffer a preventable death, and the same is true across Birmingham.

Men made up 62% of all avoidable deaths in our city that could be due to an unhealthy lifestyle.

 

Jacob West, director of healthcare innovation at the British Heart Foundation, said: “These figures are a stark reminder that what we do to our bodies matters.

“While we can’t always see the damage they cause, smoking, heavy drinking, lack of exercise and poor diet significantly increases our risk of coronary heart disease and can reduce life-expectancy.

“However, this is not all down to individual action and government has a role to play too.

“People need to be supported to make healthy choices to improve and protect their health.”

 

Jo Bibby, director of health at the Health Foundation, said: “When looking at the causes of preventable deaths, it is all too easy to blame the individual.

“But this fails to recognise that the conditions in which people live, work and age can make it harder for people to live healthier lives.

“The strongest influences on our health are factors such as the money and resources available to us, our ability to access affordable healthy food, and the quality of our housing, education and workplaces.

“A healthier population not only benefits individuals, it is vital to ensure a prosperous society. It’s time we started prioritising the nation’s health as an asset worth investing in."