Although the we usually talk of the UK as a whole when it comes to figures around life expectancy, there are huge discrepancies between different parts of the country, or even between different areas in the same city. Recent studies have drawn a map of UK health, and have shown where the most healthy places UK are.
Kensington and Chelsea
The upmarket London borough of Kensington and Chelsea scores highest than most on scales used to measure how healthy the population is. Cancer deaths in Kensington and Chelsea are 81 per 100,000 compared to areas in the north west of England where deaths from cancer are twice as likely. The average life expectancy in the UK is 76.9 and the figure for Kensington and Chelsea is much higher at 82.2 years.
One of the smaller counties in Scotland, East Dunbartonshire lies to the north of Glasgow and is full of leafy suburbs and affluent residential areas. This is the part of the country with the greatest contrast in life expectancies and health. The average life expectancy for a man in East Dunbartonshire is 79.4 years, almost 8 years longer than a man living just across the county border in the city of Glasgow. In the most deprived areas of Glasgow, the life expectancy for a male is just 54 years, lower than in Iraq or North Korea.
Rural v Urban
Studies have repeatedly shown that people who live in rural areas have a better life expectancy and standard of health than people who live in built up areas, especially large cities. Although some of the difference will be due to income levels, it may well be that a rural lifestyle is more relaxing and factors such as pollution are not as noticeable as in large cities. Small country towns such as Aldeburgh in Suffolk and Hinton St George in Somerset are the most healthy places to live for retired people.
Alcohol and Smoking
One of the main indications of how healthy a population is concerns how much alcohol is drunk by the population. The area of the UK where the lowest amount of alcohol is drunk is the West Midlands, and the highest is the North East and the Yorkshire and Humber areas. 27% of men in these areas drink over 8 units on one day per week. Yorkshire also leads the way when it comes to high smoking levels, with 20% of all adults regular lighting up on cigarettes. The government are trying to address these figures and their knock on effect on health by focusing efforts in these areas to get people to quit smoking.