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North Devon town healthiest place to live in UK

An innovative study has named Great Torrington in North Devon as the healthiest place to live in the UK.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool used the latest updated version of their data resource tool which contains a range of lifestyle and environmental measures to identify neighbourhoods that are healthy, and those that are unhealthy.

Data analysed included levels of air pollution, access to various amenities such as fast food outlets or pubs, and proximity to health services including GPs, parks and recreational spaces.

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.

According to the analysis, London is home to six of the top ten unhealthiest places to live including Hackney, Camden and Soho.

They were found to have the greatest access to unhealthy opportunities such as takeaways, pubs and off licenses, combined with high levels of air pollution and low levels of parks and green spaces.

Eight of the top ten healthiest places to live were located in Scotland. These included Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire, Fauldhouse in West Lothian, Foxbar in Renfrewshire and Marnoch in North Lanarkshire.

Liverpool Senior Lecturer in Health Geography, Dr Mark Green, who undertook the study, said: ‘Our research, in conjunction with the Consumer Data Research Centre and Public Health England, has 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.

‘Our updated data release makes it now the most comprehensive free source of data on healthy environments available.

‘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 just as close to a pub or bar, as they are to their nearest GP (1.1 km).’

‘We also found that 42% of people are within 1 km (or a few minutes’ drive time) of their nearest gambling outlet.

‘These statistics reveal troubling issues with the neighbourhoods we live in and how they may be damaging to our health.’

Photo Credit – Jonathan Billinger

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