A new study by University of Liverpool researchers has identified Holborn in London as the unhealthiest place to live in Great Britain.
Using a new data resource tool which contains a range of lifestyle and environmental measures, researchers were able to identify neighbourhoods that are healthy and those that are unhealthy.
The results can be seen on an interactive map at: https://maps.cdrc.ac.uk/#/indicators/ahah/ and the data can be downloaded for individual local authorities at: https://data.cdrc.ac.uk/product/cdrc-ahah-index and nationally at: https://data.cdrc.ac.uk/dataset/access-to-healthy-assets-and-hazards-ahah
The type of information which the data tool used related to levels of air pollution and access to various amenities such as fast food outlets, health services including GPs, pubs, and off-licenses.
The study found that within Holborn the neighbourhood surrounding Hatton Garden and Farringdon Station had the greatest access to unhealthy opportunities such as fast food or alcohol, combined with high levels of air pollution.
At a national level, the study found that all other neighbourhoods in the top ten were located within Inner London.
By contrast, the healthiest place to live was ‘Great Torrington’ in North Devon. The small market town has low levels of pollution, good access to parks and green space, few retail outlets that may encourage poor health-related behaviours, and good access to health services. Eight of the top ten places to live where located in Scotland.
Liverpool Lecturer in Health Geography, Dr Mark Green, who undertook the study, said:
“This study used a new data tool which has been developed in conjunction with the Consumer Data Research Centre which allowed us to pull together freely available information from sources such as GP surgeries, Health Centres, fast food outlets, air pollution statistics published by the Environment Agency. Whilst the information has been available, it has not been collated all together.
“The statistics reveal important insights about the concentration of certain amenities that may be damaging or promote health. For example, on average, individuals in Great Britain are roughly 1 and half minutes (driving time) – or 1.41km – from a fast food outlet or 1.35km from a gambling outlet and roughly 1 minute 10 seconds – 1.14km from a pub.”
“We also found that 24% of postcodes in Great Britain were located less than 1 km of a fast food outlet and 52% within 5 km. These statistics reveal troubling issues with the neighbourhoods we live in and how they may be damaging to our health.”
Professor Alex Singleton, Deputy Director of the Consumer Data Research Centre, said: “Our study found that access was not evenly spread across Great Britain – rural areas have poorer access to many of these services, and those services which are seen as damaging to health are concentrated in poorer areas.
For example, people who live in the least deprived 10% of neighbourhoods are just over two and a half times further away from a fast food outlet than people who live in the most deprived 10% of areas.”
The data resource is available online (https://maps.cdrc.ac.uk/#/indicators/ahah/) and free for anyone – from policy makers to members of the public – to explore how near or far away they are to services, and how this varies across their local (and national) regions. Users can log on and can either click on the map or search with a postcode.
Dr Mark Green added: “We anticipate that this resource will be an important tool for citizens and policy makers alike interested in how their neighbourhoods may be associated to their health.”
The data resource is part of the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) which aims to unlock valuable insight from the vast amounts of data collected by business, local and national government organisations.
For further information, please see this blog post from Dr Mark Green: