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Map blamed for millions of premature deaths


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Friday, 14 June 2013

Map blamed for millions of premature deaths

A storm of protest has greeted the publication of a map of England purporting to show that some people live longer than others.

The Longer Lives map, created by Public Health England, was variously condemned as seditious, socially divisive and fairly dull. The Daily Mail called it “an attack on our way of life”, the Guardian said it was “demeaning to people living in red areas of the country” and the BBC called it “a useful filler until we get more pictures of G8 protesters clashing with police”.

There were scenes of chaos as members of the public fled red areas fearing an immediate threat to their lives. The exodus caused an outcry from residents of green areas, many of which report an influx of obese chain-smokers seeking the safety of the country’s low-mortality zones.

Statisticians warned that if unhealthy people moved into healthy areas average life expectancy could fall dramatically.

“It’s outrageous,” said St Albans resident Susan Waitrose. “I moved here ten years ago because I wanted my children to have the chance of a longer life. If northerners continue to move in, we will all die a lot younger.”

A government spokesperson, said: “Charts of this kind are responsible for millions of needless deaths. A person's life expectancy should not depend on their background colour.”

Public Health England says it plans further resources, including:

  • Pie charts to highlight problems of obesity
  • Bar charts to identify patterns of alcohol misuse
  • Heat maps to target heavy smokers
  • Bubble charts to warn the young about the dangers of fizzy drinks.

Responding to the furore surrounding Longer Lives, a spokesperson for Public Health England said: “We had no idea it would cause so much controversy. The comms team can’t believe their luck.”

Infographics editor: NHS Networks

Clive Spindley
Clive Spindley says:
Jun 14, 2013 06:38 AM
They really do have their heads stuck in the sand don't they ... :-)
Clive Spindley
Clive Spindley says:
Jun 14, 2013 06:38 AM
They really do have their heads stuck in the sand don't they ... :-)
guy lancaster
guy lancaster says:
Jun 14, 2013 08:07 AM
A storm of protest = a journalist's prejudices were disturbed.
Anonymous says:
Jun 14, 2013 09:10 AM
This is hilarious, sounds like something that would be posted on the daily mash :-)
Anonymous says:
Jun 14, 2013 09:37 AM
The cynicism in this blog is hilarious as well as food for thought. However, there was nothing wrong with the data presented in the PHE maps - the north-south divide in overall life-expectancy is fact, well known and shouldn't be anything new to Councils, NHS, Public Health ...and perhaps the public ... alike. It was just presented and publicised badly, out of context and lacking the detailed analysis that would explain some of the differences. I look forward to forthcoming pie, bar, heat and bubble infographics :-)
Anonymous says:
Jun 14, 2013 09:38 AM
Brilliant - more please
Anonymous says:
Jun 14, 2013 11:07 AM
Northern stereotype reinforced - again!(From a Northerner inadvertantly reducing life expectancy in the Green Zone)
Anonymous says:
Jun 14, 2013 04:20 PM
Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Jun 14, 2013 11:11 AM
11:07 I'm a northerner too and I'd like to think the stereotype was being subverted not reinforced, but point taken.
Anonymous says:
Jun 14, 2013 04:21 PM
I knew you had to be with that delicious sense of humour!!
Laura Lopez-Bueno
Laura Lopez-Bueno says:
Jun 14, 2013 01:25 PM
Malcolm Goodson
Malcolm Goodson says:
Jun 14, 2013 04:20 PM
This is, sadly, not only a funny little saire on this paricular piece of news but could just as easily be applied to nearly all so-called 'journalism' about the NHS and medicine in general.
Anonymous says:
Jun 14, 2013 04:23 PM
Julian.....you belong on Mock the Week!
Document Capture & Co
Document Capture & Co says:
Jun 25, 2013 05:40 PM
certainly one of the best blog posts I have read in a while!
Steve davison
Steve davison says:
Jun 20, 2014 03:31 PM
Brilliant - thanks for another good laugh!