Healthiest high street in UK revealed - and it’s in Scotland

Edinburgh is home to the healthiest streets in the UK according to a study from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH)
Edinburgh is home to the healthiest streets in the UK according to a study from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH)
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Edinburgh is home to the healthiest streets in the UK according to a study from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH)

The study of over 70 towns deemed High Streets with more payday lenders, bookmakers, tanning salons and fast food outlets the worst, with Edinburgh topping the list for healthy high streets.

Each business was scored on the basis of whether it encouraged healthy lifestyle choices, promoted social interaction, mental wellbeing and greater access to health services.

Scores ranged between 8 and -4. Pubs, for example, scored 2 and libraries scored 5.

Empty premises and tanning shops scored -1 and fast food shops -2.

The results for each outlet on the high street were added up and then divided by the total number of businesses on each street to reach a final score.

Outlets that were considered healthy included leisure centres, health services, libraries, museums and art galleries.

The report also considered pubs and bars as being a positive presence on the High Street because they are centres for social interaction.

Payday lenders and bookmakers were considered unhealthy businesses because of the “devastating consequences” debt can have on health with vape shops also deemed unhealthy.

The UK’s 10 unhealthiest High Streets are:

Grimsby

Walsall

Blackpool

Stoke-on-Trent

Sunderland

Northampton

Bolton

Wolverhampton

Huddersfield

Bradford

The UK’s 10 healthiest High Streets are:

Edinburgh

Canterbury

Taunton

Shrewsbury

Cheltenham

York

Brighton & Hove

Eastbourne

Exeter

Cambridge

Shirley Cramer, RSPH chief executive said: “When our time and money are converted into a loss at the bookmaker, a tan from a sunbed, a high-cost loan or a bucket of fried chicken, the High Street is enabling and supporting poor health behaviours.

“Our Health on the High Street 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 serve as a tool to help redress this imbalance.”