Expert viewpoint: Are Britain’s High Streets getting unhealthier?

Dr Mark A Green, Lecturer in Health Geography in the University’s Department of Geography & Planning, comments on a report by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) which lists the healthiest and unhealthiest high streets.

“Focusing on purely the high street ignores the wider influences of our health in the communities and neighbourhoods outside of them.

“For example, the average individual is located 1.12km from their nearest pub, 1.21km to their nearest gambling outlet, 1.05km to their nearest GP. These are the equivalent of a few minutes drive time, or a 10 minute walk.

“These aggregate statistics also hide variations and inequalities in the types of environments people are exposed to. People in the most deprived neighbourhoods in Great Britain are twice as close to most types of unhealthy retail outlets, but also located nearer to the majority of health services.”

“The University of Liverpool have produced a free resource called ‘Access to Healthy Assets and Hazards’ that maps out the accessibility to environmental features that influence our health (

“This influential resource allows people to explore their neighbourhoods and surrounding areas to look at all of the features that might make them healthy or not. ”



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