Where is the ‘unhealthiest’ place to live in Great Britain?

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AHAH Decile – the index of ‘access to healthy assets and hazards’ (2017)

The latest update of the Access to Healthy Assets and Hazards (AHAH) resource by the Geographic Data Science Lab has identified Soho in Westminster (London) as the unhealthiest place to live in Great Britain.


The finding was derived from the 2017 version of the AHAH index which found that the area had the greatest access to unhealthy opportunities such as fast food or alcohol, combined with high levels of air pollution and a lack of parks.


6 of the other neighbourhoods in the top ten were located within Inner London. Also in the top ten were Shotley Gate near Ipswich and areas North of Immingham in Humberside.


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. 


All of the other top ten places to live where located in Scotland including Lochwinnoch (Renfrewshire), Fauldhouse (West Lothian) and Lennoxtown (East Dumbartonshire).


The map included on this article plots the index for Great Britain and shows distinct geographical patterns. Rural areas tend to perform poorly due to being remotely located from many health services, or in heavy farming locations which higher levels of associated pollution. There are also differences within urban areas, with areas with concentrated heavy industry or higher levels of pubs, off-licences or fast food outlets seeing them perform poorly.


The full index can be viewed for free at http://maps.cdrc.ac.ukand downloaded at http://data.cdrc.ac.uk. We hope that the tool will be used both by citizens, policy officials and researchers interested in understanding how their local neighbourhoods may shape their health.