This may come as a surprise to some readers, but a new medical study has concluded that Wigan is the healthiest town in Greater Manchester.
After all the reports that have been published over the years about obesity, smoking, poor diet, tooth decay and heart disease rates in the borough being generally higher than the national average, new research suggests that local residents are more robust than those of the nine other boroughs in the city region.
Babylon Health collected data from over 38,000 users of its Healthcheck app from across the UK.
They assigned an overall score to every local authority district in the UK, based on nine indicators of a healthy lifestyle. The higher the score, the healthier the place:
l Diet: Alcohol units per week; drinking (times per week); fruit and veg portions per day: Wigan 19.4 rating (North West 18);
l Smoking: Cigarettes per day; percentage of smokers; percentage of quitters vs smokers: Wigan 20.4 (North West 19);
l Exercise: Moderate exercise (mins per week); intense exercise (mins per week); resistance exercise (days per week): Wigan (20.3) North West 16.7.
And under this Wigan come out as the healthiest town in Greater Manchester with 57.7 points, followed by Manchester (53.6) and Trafford (53.5). Wigan is also the third healthiest town in the North West.
Manchester has the highest proportions of smokers (34.4 per cent of the adult population), but smokers smoke fewer cigarettes in Manchester than in any other town in the city region (9.8 per day).
The towns with the unhealthiest habits are Stockport (47.6 points), Tameside (47.8) and Salford (48.4). Stockport is the 20th least healthy town in the UK and the unhealthiest town in the North West after Blackpool (46.2).
The health of the borough has certainly improved in some respects, perhaps at a quicker rate than other parts of the country because it has had further to come.
There has been, for instance, a big fall in the number of smokers, including women who smoke during pregnancy and surveys suggest that younger adults aren’t drinking as much alcohol as the previous couple of generations although that is having little effect on alcohol-related hospital visits due to the long-term heavier drinking of older residents coming back to haunt them.
But the obesity problem is not easing with now almost a quarter of 11-year-olds leaving primary school overweight or worse.