RCPCH responds to RSPH's 'Health on the High Street' report

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has published a league table ranking 70 of Britain's major towns and cities by the impact of their high streets on the public's health and wellbeing. Officer for Health Promotion, Dr Max Davie, responds to these statistics.

The rankings have been decided based on the prevalence of different types of business in the town's main retail areas, and has been updated since the original report in 2015 to reflect the changing face of the British high street, including off-licenses and empty shops to the negative influences on health, and cafes and vape shops to the positive influences.

The report found that average life expectancy for people living in areas with the top 10 healthiest high streets is two and a half years longer than for those in the 10 unhealthiest areas.

RSPH is now calling for a range of measures to make British high streets more health-promoting.

Responding to the new report, “Health on the High Street: Running on empty” from The Royal Society for Public Health, Dr Max Davie, Officer for Health Promotion for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said:

“It’s hardly surprising that of the high streets listed as the unhealthiest, they too are areas that suffer with high levels of poverty and this blights lives in a number of ways – it increases risk of poor mental health, of obesity and it unfairly cuts lives short.

“Families living in these areas need the Government’s help and as this report points out, high numbers of fast food shops in high streets are unhelpful. That’s why we are calling on the Government to work with local councils to make communities healthier, happier and more prosperous places to live. Families must have access to nutritious and affordable food so councils need to ensure high streets are not littered with junk food – especially those close to schools and colleges.  They must also ensure there are safe spaces for families to be active.”