Cheshire East is in the top 20 of all 149 English local councils for overall health in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) first official Health Index for England.
The borough’s ranking in the report was significantly boosted by Cheshire East Council being named the ninth most physically active council in England, as reported in the Sunday Times.
The three main categories assessed in the report were healthy people, healthy lives, and healthy places.
Cheshire East’s overall health and wellbeing index score of 103.3 is 3.6 above the national index average and 5.9 above the average for authorities throughout the North West. The borough is comparable with some of the most affluent areas in the country.
Local authority scores are influenced by a combination of common health outcome measures such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer levels, along with other health factors including access to employment opportunities, education, and housing.
Cheshire East’s high levels of physical activity and adult healthy eating support the borough’s general healthiness, which has ensured that the borough has been well placed to deal with the challenges of Covid-19. The authority’s relatively clean air, very few areas of air pollution, small non-densely populated towns, low crime levels and relatively high levels of green space have collectively had a positive effect on the borough’s wellbeing.
Councillor Jill Rhodes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for public health and corporate services, said: “The national health index results confirm that Cheshire East is one of the healthiest boroughs in the country to live in.
“We have many health and wellbeing initiatives on the Live Well section of the Cheshire East Council and Everybody Sport and Recreation (Esar) websites. Esar, a health and wellbeing charity funded by Cheshire East Council that improves people’s lives through physical activity and healthy recreation, has 16 leisure facilities across the borough.”
“Esar’s ‘everybody at home’ scheme has been offering free online live and on-demand classes throughout lockdown, as facilities have remained closed. The classes are a great way to stay active and healthy.
“This is ahead of gym facilities reopening from 12April and the return of group classes, which have an estimated restart date of 17 May. We also have a clear focus on active travel initiatives for cycling and walking throughout the borough.”
“While the health and overall wellbeing of residents in Cheshire East is very good, we do recognise that there are areas where this is not the case. We continue to target our resources in those areas to try and make a positive difference to the people living there.”
Dr Matt Tyrer, Cheshire East’s director of public health, said: “The ONS report clearly emphasises the importance of general health to support individuals and the borough when recovering from Covid-19.
“The relatively good level of health across the borough and low obesity levels mean we are in a good position. We now need to make the most of this as we seek to recover from the effects of Covid-19.
“However, there is still work that needs to be done in some areas and we are committed to supporting initiatives that improve the health and wellbeing of all our residents.”