In Brief

10 healthiest places in England – and the 10 unhealthiest

Figures show a massive life expectancy difference between the north and south of England

Blackpool has emerged as the unhealthiest place to live in England in a new analysis of health indicators such as smoking, diet and obesity.

The Daily Mirror has come up with a ratings system that reveals how quality of life ranks in local authorities across England, by analysing data covering factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and overweight population levels.

Blackpool has "rock-bottom scores" when it comes to the number of people hospitalised for overweight or alcohol problems, followed by Knowsley in Merseyside, which comes in second place. The healthiest place in England goes to Chiltern in Buckinghamshire. 

The analysis comes in the wake of figures from the Office for National Statistics which show that life expectancy in England varies wildly across the north-south divide.

Baby boys born in the richest part of London have a life expectancy 8.6 years higher than those born in Blackpool which, with a 74.7 life expectancy average, ranks at the bottom of England's rates for male life expectancy at birth.

"The north-south divide remains stubbornly entrenched," says the Financial Times, with south England councils such as St Albans, East Dorset, and Kensington and Chelsea topping the lists, while councils in the north-west consistently make up the lower rankings.

Lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol and diet, alongside economic factors such as employment, education and housing, have been linked to these north-south inequalities.

Blackpool's ill-repute isn't new, however. In 2013, the Centre for Social Justice named Blackpool among five coastal towns that were "becoming dumping grounds for the vulnerable" and suffering from "severe social breakdown". Writing at the time, The Guardian's Patrick Collinson named Blackpool "the most unhealthy place in England", arguing that there are no "miracle cures" for the coastal town "when the diagnosis is poverty".

Top ten unhealthiest areas by local authority

1.Blackpool

2.Knowsley

3.South Tyneside

4.Burnley

5.Hartlepool

6.Halton

7.Wigan

8.Barrow-in-Furness

9.Tameside

10.Sunderland

Top ten healthiest areas by local authority

1.Chiltern

2.Wokingham

3.Sevenoaks

4.Winchester

5.St Albans

6.Mole Valley

7.Elmbridge

8.Richmond upon Thames

9.Hart

10.Windsor and Maidenhead

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