HAMPSHIRE is among the top ten healthiest areas to live in the UK, a new study has revealed.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and financial services company, Lane Clark & Peacock (LCP), have devised the country's first national health index.

The index produces a score for each area which is created by examining different health factors such as dementia, cancer, alcohol misuse and adult obesity.

It is thought to be the first composite health index in the world after ministers asked statisticians to assess the health of the nation in a bid to measure the effects of government policy on health.

Hampshire was given a score of 104.6, placing it tenth on the list of England’s healthiest places.

However, two areas of Hampshire saw significantly lower scores with Southampton placing twentieth on the list of unhealthiest places and Portsmouth thirty-fifth.

Analysis of the data shows that overall wellbeing and mortality have seen slight improvements, but these have been cancelled out by worsening mental and physical health morbidity. There are also substantial geographic differences and a clear North / South divide within England. 

The data shows that the South-East of England and London were the healthiest regions while the North-East and North-West were the least healthy.

Hampshire had some of the best rates for physical activity and life satisfaction but it scored low on the average distance to facilities such as a sport or leisure centres, GP’s and pharmacies.

The low score given to Southampton was impacted by high rates of unemployment, homelessness and anxiety.

Commenting on the data, Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, head of LCP’s Health Analytics team, said: “This data is being published at a crucial time for the nation’s health as the NHS is stretched to deal with the impact of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The numbers reveal clear and substantial differences across England and should be a wake-up call to the Government to deliver on its manifesto pledge to level up regional inequalities.

“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.

“Being able to identify the components that account for the variations in the index over time and across populations, both by geography and deprivation, provides the opportunity to take a data-driven approach to investing in communities and build back better in 2021.”

To view the health index map click here.