Whitechapel the unhealthiest high street in London

Research from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) finds that Whitechapel is the unhealthiest high street in London with Chrisp Street the fourth worst.

The Unhealthiest High Streets in London

1WhitechapelTower Hamlets
2New AddingtonCroydon
4Chrisp StreetTower Hamlets
5West Green Road/Seven SistersHaringey
7New CrossLewisham
8Finsbury ParkHackney/Islington/Haringey
9Bakers ArmsWaltham Forest
10East BecktonNewham

The RSPH survey ranked 70 of the UK’s major towns and cities based on the amount of businesses found in their main retail area that either support or harm the public’s health.

A more detailed survey looked at specific High Streets in London which is where Whitechapel and Chrisp Street are identified.

Businesses that the RSPH consider to be harmful to public wellbeing are:

  • Pay day loans companies
  • Bookmakers
  • Fast food outlets
  • Tanning salons

In contrast businesses that are of benefit to public wellbeing are:

  • Community pharmacies
  • Leisure centres and health clubs
  • Libraries
  • Pubs and bars*

Pubs may seem an odd business to be categorised as ’healthy’ but they are considered beneficial because they are often the centre of community life, provide a common social space and provide events such as pub quizzes, live music, etc.

Wapping’s pubs are testimony to this – so a quiz night at the Prospect or Town of Ramsgate or singalong at the Star is a healthy night out. Good to know.

Commenting on the report a Tower Hamlets council spokesperson said:

“It is disappointing that two high streets in Tower Hamlets performed poorly in the Royal Society of Public Health’s Health on the High Street report. However the report does note the limitations of their approach in reaching their conclusions. For example they did not look at environmental factors or the availability of affordable fresh fruit and vegetables.

It is worth noting that both Whitechapel and Chrisp Street have markets that provide an affordable source of fresh fruit and vegetables but these are not recognised in the RSPH study.”

Tower Hamlets poverty

Tower Hamlets has 69.7% of its population living in the 20% most deprived areas of the UK, much higher than the England-wide average of 20.4% (Public Health England, 2014).

Tower Hamlets council is taking measures to improve matters through its Food for Health Awards (FFHA) and Well London programme.

FFHA is a free scheme run by the council that seeks to recognise those restaurants, cafes, shops and market traders that have made the food they sell healthier by reducing salt, sugar and fat levels and also meeting food hygiene standards.

Well London is focused on embedding health within communities by training health champions and running classes, events and groups.

Men in borough stuffed

In other health news it seems that men are likely to live nearly 18 years longer in good health in Wokingham, Berkshire than if they live Tower Hamlets.

But of course East Enders have far more fun than those who live in Wokingham. And we have better pubs.

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Featured image © Copyright Roger Cornfoot

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