Understanding Health in South Yorkshire

People’s health is determined by a complex combination of genetics, behaviour, the health care that we receive and the physical, social and economic environment that we live in.

When comparing ourselves to similar regions and the national average, we know that South Yorkshire (SY) has a number of health issues that are not as good as they should be. We also know that people’s health varies a lot across our region.


Go to page 18 of our Five Year Plan document (embed below) for a list of statistics about the population in South Yorkshire.

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Health Issues 

Expand the drop-down list below for more information:

Poorer life expectancy in SY - in line with the national picture, life expectancy in South Yorkshire is no longer increasing.  The greatest contributors to SYs gap in life expectancy are cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and respiratory disease.

High levels of premature deaths in males across SY – men in SY have too many deaths in early adulthood from suicide, drug related death and violence.

People in SY live fewer years in good health and die younger - the ‘burden of illness’ can often be prevented or delayed. This relates to high rates of smoking, obesity, physical inactivity and hospital admissions due to alcohol.

More people in SY reported having a long term disability – compared with the national average in the 2011 Census, the commonest conditions that lead to a disability are musculoskeletal disorders, mental ill health, neurological disorders and chronic respiratory disease.


More people in SY are socially isolated and more people report having a mental illness – compared with national averages, people with severe mental illness in SY are 3.5 to 4 times more likely to die under the age of 75 compared against the general population. People with a learning disability have worse physical and mental health. Women with a learning disability die on average 18 years younger and men 14 years younger than people without a learning disability

Many people in SY are living with multiple long term conditions - people living in the most deprived areas experience the onset of multi-morbidity 10-15 years earlier that those in the most affluent areas. The more physical illnesses you have the more likely you are to also have a mental health disorder.

Respiratory deaths and the mortality rate from liver disease is increasing in SY – While there has been an overall decrease in premature deaths from CVD and cancer over the last 15 years, this has not been seen for