Social Well-being

Life expectancy and healthy life expectancy are improving in Cwm Taf. However, outcomes for our population are determined by the inequalities that persist.

Healthy life expectancy represents the number of years a person might expect to live in good or very good health. There is an inequality gap of life and healthy life expectancy across Cwm Taf reflecting the range of deprivation across the area.

“Male life expectancy is 76.6 years. Female life expectancy is 80.9 years.”

61.2 years for men

62.6 years for women

“Male healthy life expectancy is 61.2 years. Female healthy life expectancy is 62.6 years”

7.4 years for men

3.7 years for women

“The inequality gap in healthy life expectancy across Cwm Taf is 7.4 years for men, 3.7 years for women”

A good start in life is fundamental to the well-being of future generations

Maternal health before, during and after pregnancy impacts on their children. We know that smoking during pregnancy is harmful to mothers and their unborn babies, and babies born with a low birth weight are at risk of developmental problems. There is also growing evidence showing that childhood experiences can affect health throughout the life course.

“19% of women giving birth in 2013 in Cwm Taf experienced a mental health problem”

“24.4% of women smoked during pregnancy in Cwm Taf in 2014-15”

“6.4% of babies born in Cwm Taf in 2014 weighed less than 2,500g*” (*singleton live births)

“71.9% of 4/5 year olds in Cwm Taf are a healthy weight”

Preventing ill health across the population improves well-being and reduces inequalities

Health is a resource for everyday life; poor health affects our ability to learn, work and socialise. Five health harming behaviours (smoking, obesity, alcohol consumption, poor diet and inactivity) lead to four chronic diseases (heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes).

64 %

“The four chronic diseases account for 64% of early deaths in Cwm Taf”

“Smoking rates are falling but 23% of adults in Cwm Taf smoke daily or occasionally”

“It is estimated that 64,500 adults in Cwm Taf are obese”

“40% of adults in Cwm Taf report consuming alcohol above guidelines”

Ageing well in Cwm Taf: meeting the needs of an older population

People are living longer, and due to changes in policies, people are also working for longer. An older workforce may need training and re-skilling but can also share knowledge and experience. It is vital that communities become more ‘age-friendly’ and that there are suitable homes for the ageing population.

“It is predicted that by 2036, there will be a 37% increase in the number of people aged 65 – 84 and a 137% increase in those aged 85 and over”

“Good public seating, toilets, well maintained pavements and well-lit streets help older people to feel safe and maintain their confidence and independence”

"Older people can spend 70 – 90% of their time at home so a warm, secure, accessible environment is crucial"

Mental well-being: building resilient communities

Poor mental health is both a cause and consequence of social, economic and environmental inequalities. Good mental health is fundamental to physical health, relationships, education, training, work and achieving potential. There is strong correlation between social and economic deprivation and mental health problems.

“Cwm Taf has the highest rates of mental illness and poor well-being in Wales”

“Cwm Taf has the highest antidepressant prescribing figures in Wales”

“Building confidence and resilience in individuals and communities is an important step towards improving well-being”

The quality of the home and environment has a substantial impact on well-being

There is strong evidence linking health and well-being with the quality of built and natural environments. In Cwm Taf we have a legacy of old housing stock and depopulation in some areas following the decline of traditional industries. The Planning Wales Act (2015) provides an opportunity to prioritise the development of healthy, sustainable communities.

“A warm, dry and secure home is associated with better health”

“The Local Housing Market Assessments for the area have noted a need for smaller, one or two bedroom properties”

“As well as the physical and social environment, community safety has an impact on well-being”

“Urbanisation has contributed to the development of ‘obesogenic’ environments – high levels of car use, 24-hour food availability and low levels of physical activity”

A change of focus for Cwm Taf - from deficits to assets

The post-industrial legacy in Cwm Taf led to the area being known for poor income, high unemployment levels, benefit dependency and poor lifestyles. However, engagement has revealed that residents do not consider themselves deprived and do not want to be associated with negative stereotyping.

“During engagement, residents talked about networks, groups and initiative which involve and support people’s well-being”

“Persistent negative perceptions of Cwm Taf erode well-being and add to the poverty of aspiration felt in some communities”

“There are already a lot of activities being undertaken to build social capital and increase community cohesion”