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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 September 2007, 03:10 GMT 04:10 UK
Regional health gap 'is 30 years'
Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge
The lowest healthy life expectancy was in a Middlesbrough district
A north-south healthy life gap of more than three decades exists between communities in England and Wales, government figures show.

The Office for National Statistics measured "healthy life expectancy" - the age before ill-health strikes.

People in Didcot, Oxfordshire, could expect 86 healthy years, while in parts of Middlesbrough the figure was 54.9.

The study concluded that nine of the top 10 healthiest spots were to be found in the south of England.

TOP HEALTHY LIFE EXPECTANCIES
Didcot Ladygrove, Oxfordshire - 86 years
Rissingtons, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire - 84.6
Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk - 84.2
Littlebury, Saffron Walden, Essex - 83.8
Shaftesbury Underhill, Dorset - 83.7
Gerrards Cross South, Buckinghamshire - 82.9
Greystoke, Penrith, Cumbria - 82.8
The Lower Tarrants, North Dorset - 82.2
Belgravia and Knightsbridge, London - 82
Adenham East, Hertfordshire - 82
Source: Office for National Statistics

Meanwhile, six of the bottom 10 were either areas of Liverpool or Manchester.

'Healthy lot'

A spokesman for the ONS said that researchers had carried out an "experimental" study based on death records, population data and censuses.

In 2001 the average UK healthy lifespan was thought to be 68.8 for women and 67 for men.

The district in England and Wales with the lowest healthy life expectancy, according to the study, is Middlehaven, the dockside area of Middlesbrough.

A former shipyard community, local planners hope a 200m facelift will improve its image.

LOWEST HEALTHY LIFE EXPECTANCIES
Middlehaven, Middlesbrough - 54.9 years
Rhyl West, Denbighshire - 55.7
Everton, Liverpool - 56.3
Gurnos, Merthyr Tydfill, South Wales - 56.6
Vauxhall, Liverpool - 56.7
Granby, Liverpool - 57.4
Ardwick, Manchester - 57.5
Aberbargoed, Caerphilly, South Wales - 57.6
Beswick and Clayton, Manchester - 57.6
Smithdown, Liverpool - 57.7

By contrast, the 1990s-built Ladygrove estate in Didcot, which officially tops the national table, may have received a boost from the local recreation grounds and sports centre.

Tony Harbour, the deputy Mayor of Didcot, told the Sunday Telegraph that he was not surprised that his town had done so well in the study.

He said: "I suppose we are a healthy lot - people tend to walk everywhere.

"A real mix of people move here, for various reasons. There's a lot of young families."




SEE ALSO
Low earners 'live shorter lives'
07 Jul 06 |  Business
Life expectancy gap 'widening'
29 Apr 05 |  Health



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