Hull in Yorkshire repeatedly named one of Britain’s unhealthiest places to live


Our health and wellbeing is dependent on a number of factors, from our diet to our genetics. While some of these factors are beyond our control others depend on certain choices we make.

Where you live is also one of these factors, with various studies and surveys showing health disparities can range from town to town, not just country to country.

Often this is linked to aspects such as poverty, access to healthcare services and education.

In the UK, one city has been named as one of the unhealthiest places in the country on more than one occasion.

This was the case for Kingston-Upon-Hull, which is often referred to as just Hull. Located in the north-east of England it was ranked the second most unhealthy location by both the 2021 Health Index study and the Babylon Health survey from 2019.

But why was this? The Health Index study was based on data provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It calculates an overall score based on a number of factors for physical health, mental health and fitness.

A higher number means better health, while a lower number means poorer health.

The most recent survey using data from 2021 found that most places saw considerable improvement in their scores compared to the first year of the pandemic, however, levels were still below those seen before Covid hit.

Hull, in Yorkshire, came in second to last with an overall score of 77.5.

This was significantly below the national average of 100 points.

Only Blackpool in Lancashire ranked worse with a score of 76.5.

Overall, the north of England fared poorly with Liverpool (79.9), Middlesbrough (80.2), Manchester (81.8), Knowsley (82.8), Salford (83.8) getting low scores.

Portsmouth in Hampshire was the only southern location to be ranked among the 10 unhealthiest places with a score of 83.8.

Contrasting against Hull, was the fact that Harrogate – also in Yorkshire – was ranked the country’s most healthy spot with a score of 124.9.

In a report issued in 2023, Hull City Council’s public health director Julia Weldon issued a warning that residents of Hull live shorter lives on average compared to the rest of the country.

She said the cost of living crisis would exacerbate the problem, leading to more poverty and worse health outcomes.

The life expectancy for men in Hull is 75 compared to England’s 80, and 80 for women in Hull compared to 83 nationally.

Smoking is also an issue in Hull with 17.2 percent of the population classed as smokers in 2020, compared to national rate of 12.1 percent.

Further to this, the pregnancy smoking rate was estimated at 17.5 percent in Hull in 2021/22, compared to 9.1 percent in England.

As mentioned, Hull was also named as one of the least healthy locations in the UK as part of a survey conducted by Babylon Health in 2019.

As part of the research it collected data from 38,800 users of its Healthcheck app across nine metrics, and gave each location a score out of 100.

Hull came in at second to worst with a score of 43 just under Sunderland (42.1).

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