ALMOST 4,000 York children are living below the poverty line but the health of the city's youngsters is mostly better than the UK average, official figures have revealed.

Child health statistics released by Public Health England show the city has "significantly" fewer children under four being taken to A&E departments and under-18s being admitted to hospital after drinking, compared to the national picture. It also performs well on MMR immunisations, birthweights and levels of family homelessness.

In 2012/13, 157 reception-age children and 267 Year Six pupils were classified as obese, both below the national average. However, 193 people aged between ten and 24 were treated in hospital after self-harming that year, the one area where York is "significantly worse" than the UK average.

Last year, City of York Council research said 4,575 York children were living in poverty, about 13 per cent of the total. The latest health snapshot showed that figure has fallen to 3,995 but the percentage remains about the same, possibly due to fluctuating age patterns, although it is 7.5 per cent better than the average for England.

2012 saw 2,095 live births in York, raising the number of children aged 19 and under to 43,500. Girls are expected to live to 83, three-and-a-half years longer than boys, with York beating national and regional life-expectancy averages, and under-20s now make up more than a fifth of York's population.

City of York Council’s director of health and wellbeing, Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, said: “It is pleasing to see York is faring well compared to our neighbours and the UK generally, and that York’s children are healthy and well overall.

“York’s low birthweight figures, number of overweight Year 6 children and MMR immunisation rate are all above the national average and must continue to be. The areas we fared less well in are of a concern to me and I will be working with colleagues to understand what can be done to improve the situation.”

Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, cabinet member for health, said there was "no room for complacency" over children's health and she was concerned at the obesity figures and their implications for long-term health.