Cityvisitor blog

Health warning! Don’t grow up on the wrong street

It was genuinely shocking to read that good health can vary by a staggering 25 years – within the same borough.

A survey by the Office for National Statistics reveals that where you grow up in London determines whether you live to a ripe old age, or are decrepit before retirement.

Knightsbridge is the place to live apparently (no surprise there!). A typical baby boy born there can expect to enjoy full health until he is 80.2 years old.

Yet only a few miles away a boy could expect to reach 54.8 years in good health, an astonishing gap of 25.4 years.

Girls in the area will be pleased to know that the good health gap is a little closer, at 21.2 years.

What a sad and sorry picture this paints of our great nation.

We may be one of the most prosperous places on earth, yet the rich-poor divide is as stark as ever.

These are the statistics you would expect from Victorian times, when standards of public health and sanitation were virtually non-existent. Not in Britain, in 2015.

Is it poor housing, bad diet and lifestyle that contribute to such alarming discrepancies? Probably, yes to all three. And what about education? A recent study shows about one in five youngsters leave school without reaching a basic level of education. As a result, many of them are unable to get on in the world, condemned to a life on the breadline.

There has always been poverty and inequality and always will be.

But it is sad to see that despite all the advances in medicine and technology, we still haven’t found a formula that allows the poorest in society to pick up a pension.

P.S. as you might expect, it’s no better if you live in the north. The ONS survey revealed that in one neighbourhood in Salford a typical baby boy could expect to live in good health for just 46.3 years.


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