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Fewer pregnant women smoking as borough children get ‘best start in life’ says report

Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust are launching a new scheme during which they will conduct carbon monoxide testing on pregnant women. Picture by Mahalie Stackpole.

Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust are launching a new scheme during which they will conduct carbon monoxide testing on pregnant women. Picture by Mahalie Stackpole.

More children in Bedford Borough are getting off to the best start in life, according to a health report just published.

Fewer mothers are smoking during pregnancy than before, and more are choosing to breastfeed their babies in the first few days of life, it reveals.

There has also been a reduction in teenage pregnancies and an increase in the number of children passing five or more GCSEs. In 2013, Bedford Borough saw outstanding progress in GCSE results - bucking the national trend.

The 2014 Health Profile, published by Public Health England, highlights the inequality in life expectancy that is known to affect Bedford residents. People from the most deprived areas of the borough die on average 11 years earlier than people from the least deprived parts.

The Bedford Borough Health and Wellbeing Board has pledged to reduce inequalities in its strategy for 2014-16. The board brings together elected councillors, and service user representatives, with those who buy services across the NHS, public health, social care and children’s services to jointly consider local needs and plan the right services for our population.

Cllr Sue Oliver, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Social Care at Bedford Borough Council, said: “It is pleasing to see that Bedford Borough is delivering such positive health outcomes for our young people. The gap in life expectancy starts to accumulate before a baby is even born. By giving our children the best start, we can help them to grow up healthy and fulfil their potential in adulthood.”

Cllr Colleen Atkins, Portfolio Holder for Adults’ Services and Community Wellbeing at Bedford Borough Council, said: “It is good news that fewer mothers are smoking during pregnancy and more are breastfeeding for the first few days, however there are still some areas that need improvement for example the increase in the number of children who are obese.”

Cllr Atkins continued: “Another worrying aspect is the number of adults suffering from diabetes. The best advice is: don’t smoke, eat well, get regular exercise and only drink alcohol in moderation.”

If you would like to view ‘The 2014 Health Profile’ report go to www.healthprofiles.info

 

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