MORE than 10,000 people living in poverty are suffering from heart or breathing issues in Dorset, new estimates suggest.
The findings come as public health organisations warn of disastrous consequences if people cannot heat their homes this winter.
New estimates from the Office for National Statistics suggest there were around 65,470 people living in poverty in private households in Dorset as of March 2021 – 10,110 (15 per cent) of whom had a cardiovascular or respiratory condition.
The estimates suggest there were around 71,865 people living in poverty in private households in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole as of March 2021 – 9,260 (13 per cent) of whom had a cardiovascular or respiratory condition.
The ONS used various sources to come up with the figures, including data from the 2021 census and information on health conditions collected during the coronavirus pandemic.
Though the research did not find that rates of such conditions were higher for those in poverty than for the general population, the ONS said that as people in poverty are more exposed to the cold, they are more likely to be hospitalised or die as a result of them.
Across the south west, around 142,135 people (14.1 per cent) who were estimated to be living in poverty had heart or breathing problems.
A recent survey for the Royal Society of Public Health found that 41 per cent of the population at large are worried that the cost-of-living crisis is impacting their physical health.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “We have prioritised health and social care in the Autumn Statement with a further £8 billion, on top of previous record funding, to ensure people can access high quality care as soon as possible.”
“We are supporting people with the cost-of-living crisis, with £1,200 of support for the most vulnerable households and have provided more than £3.4 billion this year to local authorities in England to tackle issues including alcohol use, obesity and smoking,” they added.