BRADFORD has ranked highly in a new index of the unhealthiest areas of England.

The district ranked low in the Office for National Statistics' Health Index, which measures people's life outcomes, lifestyle and environment to rank areas on how healthy they are.

Bradford has been ranked in 121st place out of 149 areas in the list, far more unhealthy than the healthiest placed in England - Wokingham - but not as bad as the nation's most unhealthy area which is Blackpool.

The district was scored 95.6 on the index, way behind Wokingham on 110.1 but higher than Blackpool's 86.4.

Bradford scored best for Healthy Places with a score of 97.5, boosted by housing affordability, distance to GP services and pharmacies, distance to sports facilities, and - surprisingly - air pollution and road traffic volume, but scoring badly for house overcrowding and personal crime.

For Healthy People the score was 95.1, with the district performing poorly for avoidable deaths, life expectancy, depression and anxiety and physical health conditions.

The area where Bradford scored worst was on Healthy Lives, scored very badly for child poverty, low birth weight, job related training, healthy eating, diabetes, and drug and alcohol misuse.

However, the district is not the most unhealthy area in West Yorkshire, the title of which goes to Wakefield with a score of 95.4.

Yorkshire and Humber as a whole was ranked the third most unhealthy region in England.

The ONS Health Index incorporates measurement not only of health outcomes, but also of factors which are known to contribute to health at both individual and collective levels, and collates data from 2018 to give these new figures.

Rose Dunlop, Public Health Consultant for Bradford Council, said: “The Bradford district faces unique health challenges because of the diverse nature of the population and because parts of the district remain amongst the most deprived in England.

“Health inequalities in society are complex and are affected by many social factors. Economic, environmental and social inequalities can determine people's risk of getting ill, their ability to prevent sickness and how the access treatment.

“Bradford Council remains committed to improving the health of its residents by developing innovative and large scale interventions to address health related behaviours

“We are promoting many national and local initiatives to tackle and improve health and wellbeing.

“Bradford Council is in its eighth year of delivering the HENRY programme which helps families to create a healthy lifestyle enabling parents/carers to give babies and young children a healthy start in life and prevent child obesity.

“We have also supported primary schools and nurseries to set up the daily mile in order to increase physical activity in their children.

“JU:MP (Join Us: Move. Play), part of Active Bradford, is a local programme set up to support children and families in selected areas in Bradford to be more active.

“The Trailblazer programme works with Islamic Religious Settings (IRS) leaders and communities to tackle the cultural, and structural drivers of childhood obesity in Bradford.

”Our plans to create a Clean Air Zone in place in the city centre and Shipley will improve the health of the whole district by reducing air pollution.

“And the Council’s Living Well website provides access to information on a range of health topics and offers a wide range of accessible interventions to help people to change to a healthier lifestyle.”