Hart tops UK health poll but Rushmoor comes 12thBy Phoebe Morgan
February 11, 2013
THE health of people in areas of Hampshire and Surrey is among the best in the country, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.
Three News & Mail areas reached the top 10 in England in terms of general health, with Hart named as the local authority with the highest percentage of healthy residents.
The new data shows 88.1% of Hart’s population claimed to be in good health, and it is known to be one of the least deprived areas in the country.
Hart, which saw 91,033 people take part in the census, has double the reasons to celebrate after it was also named the most desirable place to live for the second consecutive year.
The annual Halifax quality of life survey took into account factors such as employment, housing, crime, weather and, of course, health.
Hart District Council leader, Ken Crookes, said: “I am delighted that Hart has again come out top, the results will come as no surprise to our residents.”
Another area featured in the top 10 was Guildford Borough, which includes Ash and Tongham, where 87% of 137,183 people reported being in good health.
Surrey Heath, with a population of 86,144, was ranked 10th with 86.8% of residents saying they were in good health, while 86.24% of 93,807 Rushmoor residents said the same, ranking it 12th in the country.
The statistics were released as part of a general health comparison between 2011 and 2001, and Guildford was a new entry in the top 10 healthy authorities compared to a decade ago, ranking seventh.
The comparisons between areas are based on the breakdown of general health into states of good and not good,
allowing the Government to assess which areas need help.
Councillor Crookes said he believes the main factors which contribute to Hart’s good health include the fact that levels of participation in sport and exercise are above the national average.
“As a district council we take very seriously the provision of leisure and sporting facilities and we work with the schools to make sure pupils are
fully aware of the dangers of smoking, drinking and drugs,” he added. “We visit the schools to talk with students about these issue.
“Another factor is that Hart is lucky to have very attractive countryside which encourages people to take walks – we have the Basingstoke Canal and Yateley Common for example.”
He added that these factors contribute to Hart having a higher life expectancy than the average in England, along with lower levels of childhood obesity.
The majority of authorities with the highest health ratings are also among the most advantaged in England, as shown by their index of multiple deprivation (IMD) summary score rank – which takes account of a number of interrelated local issues such as income, unemployment, access to services and the quality of the physical environment.
Hart has an IMD ranking of 326 – a stark contrast to Blackpool which has a score of just six, meaning it is a deprived area.
The statistics reveal overall that 81.4% of English people class their health as either good or very good.
The pattern of health in the nation’s districts has been maintained since 2001, with health generally being of a higher standard in London and the South East region than in Northern areas.