Edinburgh named healthiest place in Scotland

Edinburgh is the healthiest place in Scotland - according to the people who live here. Picture: Sandy Young
Edinburgh is the healthiest place in Scotland - according to the people who live here. Picture: Sandy Young
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IT is the country’s Capital, hosts the world’s largest arts festival and now has been named as the healthiest place in Scotland – at least according to the people who live here.

Almost six in ten of the city’s 476,626 residents rated their own health as very good, according to the 2011 census, the results of which have just been published.

The city’s figure of 58.8 per cent giving themselves the highest possible ranking compared to a Scottish average of 52.5 per cent, according to the National Records of Scotland.

The proportion of city inhabitants who believe they are very healthy beat cities like Glasgow, where just over half of people put themselves in the category, and Aberdeen, where 52.5 per cent gave themselves the rating.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian and former East of Scotland 800 metres and 1500 metres title holder, said: “The amenities a city has to offer does impact on well-being so it’s a good message. It’s a positive thing that people are assessing themselves as being in good health.

“Edinburgh is a compact city and it does offer a lot of walking opportunities. It’s relatively straightforward to get about.

“It’s up to us to work together to make sure people assess themselves so positively in the future – and get the figure even higher.”

However, another part of Ms Johnstone’s constituency, West Lothian, recorded the lowest percentage in Scotland of those rating themselves as being in very good health, with a total of just 48.2 per cent.

“It is a concern that there’s such stark difference in percentages,” she added.

“It just goes to show the impact of job losses in recent times – people’s health will suffer where there is lower employment and fewer job opportunities. It underlines the fact that the Government has to work hard to close the gap.”

In Midlothian, 50.4 per cent of residents believe they are very healthy while in East Lothian, the figure is 56.6 per cent. Just one per cent of those living in Edinburgh said they considered themselves in very bad health, while 26.8 per cent thought they were in good health, 10.2 per cent selected fair health and 3.2 per cent chose bad health.

An in-depth study into health across Lothian, published earlier this year, found that while the vast majority considered themselves fit and healthy, the proportion of people who are overweight or obese had soared to 60 per cent. It also revealed a huge physical and mental health gap between the richest and poorest areas. 
City health leader Ricky Henderson described the 
statistics as “very interesting” but warned there was still 
work to do in stamping out inequality and its impact on health.

He said: “We are lucky in Edinburgh to have some excellent leisure facilities to help people stay fit and healthy, as well as a robust local economy which also has a significant impact on wellbeing and quality of life.

“Health inequalities do unfortunately still exist in our city so there is no room to be complacent, we still have many challenges to face.

“We work closely with our partners in the NHS and voluntary sector to address inequalities and demographic pressures and are committed to ensuring that people from all areas of the city enjoy the same high levels of good health and wellbeing.”

daniel.sanderson@edinburghnews.com