People living in the centre of Worthing are the most disadvantaged healthwise in West Sussex, according to a new report.

The study into deprivation and its effect on health shows pockets in the town with the lowest life expectancies and high levels of teenage pregnancy and expectant mothers who smoke.

When considering the factors of unemployment, overcrowded households households without a car and non-owner occupied households, Worthing came out top.

Babies born in Heene ward in the town have a life expectancy of 75.5 years.

A total of 22.8 per cent of mums-to-be in Worthing central ward smoke while pregnant. The figure is 20.3 per cent in Selden and 19.8 per cent in Castle and Durrington.

The electoral wards of River and Ham in Littlehampton came a close second and third, according to the report by West Sussex Health Authority.

Residents of Littlehampton have a shorter life expectancy than other areas, with the average standing at 74.2 years in River ward and 75.5 in Ham ward.

But Ferring residents are expected to survive longer with an average life expectancy of 83.3 years. Storrington and Pulborough also gain a place in the top ten.

Littlehampton also has the highest number of teenage mums.

Figures also show 33.6 per cent of expectant mums in Ham ward smoke ten or more cigarettes a day with 23.6 per cent in River. The average for West Sussex is 13.2 per cent.

A total of 16.3 per cent of all babies born in Ham ward have mothers aged 20 or younger with the figure being 13.5 per cent for River ward. The county average of mums under the age of 20 giving birth stands at 6.7 per cent.

The report links deprivation with poor health and the figures are based on 1991 census data.

Director of health and innovation for West Sussex Health Authority, Dr Sheena Parker, compiled it in a bid to improve health in deprived areas.

She said: "Where there is more disadvantage and poverty, there is more illness. The main role of the health authority and the health community is to improve health and improve health services."

In the report Dr Parker said factors such as the houses people lived in and whether they smoked, took drugs, drank and had clean water also affected their health.