A report has warned that high streets filled with fast-food outlets, betting shops and tanning salons can have a significant impact on shortening the residents’ lives. While locals living in towns stacked with book shops and pharmacies have a potential for longer life.
UK’s high streets
The research, conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), analysed 70 major UK towns and cities and it turned out that Britain’s High Streets are getting unhealthier. Grimsby, which is known as Europe’s Food Town because of its fish-processing industry, now has a worse reputation. The town is the first in the unhealthy High Streets list, followed by Walsall and Blackpool. The healthiest outlets awards go to Edinburgh and Canterbury.
London’s high streets
Muswell Hill Broadway was named capital’s healthiest high street, but the worst one is just three miles away and it is called West Green Road. Average life expectancy for citizens residing in Muswell Hill is around four and a half years more than that of those living in Tottenham Green where West Green Road is located.
The study ranked 146 of London’s high streets depending on their impact on the public’s health. Empty shops and off-licences were counted and included to the report for the first time. An interesting fact is that vaping shops and cafes are considered beneficial.
It appears that affluent areas, such as St John’s Wood, Pinner and Hampstead established healthier outlets on their high streets, while more deprived areas, including Thornton Heath, Angel Edmonton and Neasden provide less healthy shops.
According to Evening Standard, Shirley Cramer, RSPH chief executive, explained: “Our rankings illustrate how unhealthy businesses concentrate in areas which already experience higher levels of deprivation, obesity and lower life expectancy. Reshaping these high streets to be more health-promoting could help redress this imbalance.”
Words by: Tsvetelina Petrova | Subbing: Vanessa Craus, Lucija Duzel