A new study conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found that Stoke-on-Trent is ranked within the top three unhealthiest places in England.
Teaming up with finance company Lane Clark & Peacock, the national institute has created a new health index that assesses the welfare of areas based on a number of factors.
These were split under categories ‘Healthy Lives’, ‘Healthy People’ and ‘Healthy Places’.
Aspects such as sexual health, healthy eating and mental wellbeing were scored for each region in the country.
These scores were then combined to get a mean overall total.
The higher the total, the better the score.
SCORES IN (BRACKETS) INDICATE OVERALL INDEX SCORE
Stoke-on-Trent achieved a score of 91.4 – the third worst in England. Only Blackpool (86.4) and Hull (91) received a lower total.
The region ranked second worst in its Healthy People score (84.9) and third worst in terms of Healthy Lives (88.4).
It also returned the worst score in the land for alcohol misuse (70.4).
However, its access to green space category scored the best in England at 115.8, and the region is in the top four for housing affordability (116.6).
The rest of Staffordshire scored an overall total of 100.7, placing it 54th out of the 149 regions the study covered.
The county’s Healthy Places category scored 102, the 31st best region in England.
Its road safety was the fourth best in the country with a score of 117.7 while its score for young people’s education employment and training saw them rank 17th.
However, Staffordshire’s alcohol misuse score was also low (87.2).
Its score for hypertension was as lowly 89.2, the 31st worst in the land.
A ‘concerning’ report
Mark Clews is the chair of the Kidsgrove Sports Centre Community Group which will lease the Kidsgrove Sports Centre once a £6m refurbishment project is complete.
The rejuvenation of the sports complex has received huge praise from locals with many planning to re-visit the once-vibrant building when it re-opens next year.
Responding to the ONS’ figures, Mr Clews said the index painted a “concerning picture” for the area.
“As the Chair of a charitable organisation which aims to operate and provide leisure facilities in Kidsgrove, the most concerning and telling demographic is the below average access to sport and leisure facilities which residents of both Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire face,” he said.
“Sadly, this is not that surprising given the experience here in Kidsgrove, where the nearest leisure centre provision is an eight-mile drive away – something that excludes many people without any method of transport.
“It is widely accepted that a healthy and active lifestyle has a positive impact on the economic and social wellbeing of a community.
“This data paints a quite concerning picture and one that will only be addressed via increased access to provision and facilities.”
The South East was the healthiest region in the whole of England, weighing in with a score of 102.5 while the North East recorded a miserly 95.9, the unhealthiest.
The healthiest region in England is Wokingham in Berkshire which scored an overall total 110.1.
For many, the pandemic inspired people to get out in the fresh air and exercise.
However, for others it provoked the polar opposite feeling.
Now that summer is fast approaching, the pull of outdoors gets stronger and some may be wondering how to start exercising and keep up motivation.
Stoke-on-Trent personal trainer Jaime Hibbert has explained how people in the city can begin their journey:
Jaime says there are free resources on her website – www.jaimehibbert.co.uk – that people can use.
These latest health index figures – the first to be released – account for the year 2018, so the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has not yet been calculated.
The study gathered data from 2015 onwards, using that year as the benchmark of 100.
A national average score of above 100 was an improvement on this and a score below this indicated poorer health.
England’s overall average for 2018 was 99.71, down by 0.29 from 2015.
Its score fell by 0.4 from 2017 and is 0.44 lower than its peak in 2016.
To view the health index, click here.
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