North East has second highest rate of avoidable deaths – and men are most at risk

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MEN were 65% more likely to die of avoidable causes than women in England and Wales in 2013, according to official figures.

While 17% of female deaths were from causes classed as potentially avoidable, 28% of male deaths were, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) said.

Deaths are considered avoidable through good quality healthcare or public health interventions such as vaccinations or changes to lifestyles.

It brings the average when both men and women are taken into account to nearly a quarter (23%) - the same as in 2012.

Avoidable mortality rates were highest in the North of England and lowest in the South and the East of England.

For males they were highest in the North West, (325.8 per 100,000) followed by the North East (317.1 per 100,000), with Wales the third highest (316.2 per 100,000).

The same order was repeated in females.

The ONS said 114,740 of the 506,790 deaths registered in England and Wales in 2013 were from causes considered avoidable.

Coronary heart disease was the most common individual cause of avoidable death for all people, accounting for 17% of these deaths in 2013, but when the sexes were examined separately, lung cancer was the most common cause of avoidable death in women, accounting for 15%.

The majority of potentially avoidable deaths was among males in every year between 2001 and 2013, the ONS said, but, while the gap between the sexes narrowed in England in 2013, it increased in Wales.

Avoidable mortality rates for cardiovascular disease (disease of the heart or blood vessels) fell by more than half (52%) between 2001 and 2013, the greatest decrease by any broad cause group.

Avoidable mortality rates fell significantly in all regions between this period.

In 2001, 140,820 deaths were from causes considered avoidable and, while there were 317.3 deaths per 100,000 population in 2001, this dropped to 221.6 deaths per 100,000 population in 2013.

But the ONS said that, while rates fell significantly in each year between 2001 and 2012, for the first time there was no significant change in rates between 2012 and 2013.

Males saw a 32% decrease in rates from 2001 to 2013. But, although they fell significantly in successive years between 2001 and 2012, there was no significant change in rates between 2012 and 2013.

Avoidable mortality rates also fell for females, but at a slower pace than for males and there was no significant change in rates between successive years on three occasions, the most recent between 2012 and 2013.

The greatest decrease was in London, where rates for males and females fell by 38% and 36% respectively.

The smallest decrease was in the South West, where they fell by 27% and 23% respectively.