The healthiest and unhealthiest places to live in the UK

Devon town and rural Scottish areas top rankings while London languishes

Joggers running in London
Joggers in the English capital
(Image credit: 2012 AFP)

Six of Britain’s ten unhealthiest places to live are in London, with Soho topping the nationwide list of shame, a new study reveals.

The central London area has the most takeaways, pubs, and off-licences, and a lack of parks and green spaces, according to researchers from the University of Liverpool. Their analysis of lifestyle and environmental measures also looked at factors such as levels of air pollution and access to health services.

At the other end of the scale, Great Torrington in North Devon is the healthiest place in the UK. The remaining places on the top ten healthy list are all located in rural Scotland.

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As Country Living notes: “Rural communities often have less access to health services but they fare better when it comes to outdoor space, quality of life and less unhealthy food and drink outlets.”

The study also found a strong socio-economic correlation, with 62% of people in the most deprived areas living within 0.62 miles of a fast-food outlet, compared with just 24% in the most affluent districts.

“The statistics reveal important insights about the concentration of certain amenities that may be damaging or promote health,” study leader Dr Mark Green, a senior lecturer in health geography, told The Guardian.

“For example, on average, individuals in Great Britain are just as close to a pub or bar as they are to their nearest GP.”

Green and his team hope the research findings will influence decision-making by both policymakers and ordinary Britons.

“These statistics reveal troubling issues with the neighbourhoods we live in and how they may be damaging in our health,” he added.

Anyone can find out how their local area rates by typing in their postcode or clicking on the map on the website of the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC), which aims to supply insight from data collected by business, local, and national government organisations.

Top ten unhealthiest places in the UK

1. Soho, Westminster

2. North Killingholme

3. Shotley Gate, Suffolk

4. St. Giles, Camden

5. Bank, City of London

6. Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets

7. Farringdon, Islington

8. Ottringham, East Riding

9. Finsbury, Islington

10. Barbican, City of London

Top ten healthiest places in the UK

1. Great Torrington, Devon

2. Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire

3. Fauldhouse, West Lothian

4. Foxbar, Renfrewshire

5. Marnoch, North Lanarkshire

6. Ryton, Gateshead

7. Ballingry, Fife

8. Coupar Angus, Perth and Kinross

9. Kinghorn, Fife

10. Kilsyth Bogside, North Lanarkshire

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