Children in areas most at risk of literacy problems likely to live shorter lives

The Daily Mail reports that children who grow up in areas that have the greatest literacy challenges are also likely to live much shorter lives than their peers, a study suggests.

It argues that there is a “staggering” gap in life expectancy between those living in communities at the highest and lowest risk of literacy problems.

The research carried out by the National Literacy Trust, calculated how at risk each electoral ward in England was of having low literacy levels, based on factors such as education, employment and income, and split the areas into declines, ranging from the tenth most at risk of literacy problems to the tenth least a risk.

This information was then compared to official data on life expectancy.

“The national gap in life expectancy between children from communities with the highest and lowest vulnerability to literacy problems in the country is staggering,” the study says.

It calculates that a boy born in Stockton Town Centre – which is in the tenth of electoral wards most at risk of literacy problems – has a life expectancy 26.1 years shorter than a boy born in the North Oxford ward, which is among the tenth least at risk of literacy issues. This was the largest gap for males.

“Our fresh new analysis of national and local data shows that inequalities in both literacy and life expectancy in England are intensely localised,” the study says.

“Children growing up in wards with the greatest literacy challenges in the country have significantly shorter life expectancies than those growing up in wards with the fewest literacy challenges.”

NLT director Jonathan Douglas said: “The relationship between health, socio-economic factors and life expectancy is well established but this is the first time we’ve been able to see how literacy relates to longevity.

“If we are to truly transform the life chances of the nation’s most disadvantaged children, we must tackle low literacy one community at a time.”

Read the full article Children in areas most at risk of literacy problems likely to live shorter lives

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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