The areas of England with the happiest and healthiest people

·2-min read
Research has found Brent is the happiest area in England, while Wokingham is the healthiest. (Getty Images)
Research has found Brent is the happiest area in England, while Wokingham is the healthiest. (Getty Images)

Both health and happiness have surged in importance in the past year, as the coronavirus pandemic has encouraged people to evaluate what's most important in life.

Now, researchers have revealed the happiest and healthiest places in England, as part of the country’s health index.

The findings, published by the Office for National Statistics and financial services company Lane Clark & Peacock, identified Brent in northwest London as the happiest area, with Wokingham in Berkshire the healthiest.

Residents of Halton in Cheshire were found to be the fattest, those living in Bath the fittest, and the population of Richmond-upon-Thames to eat the most nutritious meals.

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However, the research has revealed some odd results when it comes to health – Newham in east London is one of the worst places for physical activity, healthy eating and air pollution, but it also has the lowest rates of depression and dementia in England.

Similarly, East Yorkshire ranks high for access to housing and private outdoor space, and to the answer to the question of whether life is "worthwhile", but it ranks as one of the worst for heart conditions, cancer and high blood pressure.

Health was assessed in three different ways – "health people", "healthy lives" and "healthy places".

While the two former factors took into account health outcomes and health-related behaviour, the latter looked at things like air pollution and traffic noise, as well as access to public green space and proximity to sports and leisure facilities.

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Other places that ranked high behind Wokingham in terms of overall health include Richmond-upon-Thames, Windsor and Maidenhead, West Berkshire, Surrey, Bracknell Forest, Buckinghamshire and Rutland.

Locations with the lowest score for health included Blackpool, Hull, Stoke-on-Trent, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Knowsley, Doncaster, Nottingham, St Helens and Salford.

The report's editor-in-chief Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard told The Sunday Times that in three years that had been a "big increase in depression”.

He said: "While there is some encouragement to be had from slight improvements in measures related to wellbeing and mortality, these have been cancelled out by worsening mental and physical health morbidity. These may have deteriorated further as a result of COVID-19.”

There are plans for the index to be expanded from England to include all parts of the UK.

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