There is a vast gap in the UK when it comes to health, as a recent study by National Statistics highlights. Unsurprisingly, affluent locations in the south of England are much better off than areas in the north, such as Manchester, Blackpool, Bradford, Birmingham, the North East & Lincolnshire etc.
Men in Kensington & Chelsea can expect 80.2 years of good health in their lifetime, while men in Salford can expect 46.3 years of good health (and, in reality, wouldn’t expect to live 80.2 years in total). Women in Westminster can expect 78.3 years of good health, while women in Birmingham can expect a paltry 46.1.
The reasons given in the article for this ‘sickness divide’ by Dr Ann Marie Connolly are ‘smoking’ and ‘lack of activity’. But this only scratches the surface. It is lifestyle as a whole that contributes to this sort of vast gap in health.
- Pollution (poor people can only afford to live downwind of industrial areas, and so have to breathe in crappy air on a daily basis. Not an ideal environment for exercising).
- Diet (the minimum wage cannot sustain a balanced, healthy diet)
- Working environment (breaking your back every day is bound to cause health issues. Also, when you get home after a horrible day at work, how likely are you to want to exercise or take time to cook a balanced meal?)
- Cigarettes, alcohol, drugs (the poor in society want escapism, and therefore turn to substances that can aid that).
- Stress (when you’re constantly worrying about feeding and housing your family you are going to experience mental/physical health issues).
- Education (in poor areas the schools aren’t as good, causing an endless cycle)
- Environment (it is fact that just being able to see a nice, green setting improves physical as well as mental health)
- The list could keep going on…
If the government was serious about investing in the North, and creating their ‘Northern Powerhouse’, these are basic discrepancies that they should be focussing on correcting instead of tokenistic HS2 railway plans that or neither here nor there.
On the Daily Mirror website, there is a section HERE where you can type in your postcode to find out how many years of good health you can expect. I can expect to live 77.3 years (62.4 of that being good health) … but I live on a bus route, so that’s assuming my road safety is up to scratch. Give it a go yourself!