New health map shows disease risk in Wealden

Health map: Environment and Health Atlas for England and Wales, SAHSU (Small Area Health Statistical Unit) SUS-140705-094314001
Health map: Environment and Health Atlas for England and Wales, SAHSU (Small Area Health Statistical Unit) SUS-140705-094314001

Wealden is one of the healthiest areas in England and Wales to live, according to a map which shows the risk of developing a variety of diseases in each council ward.

The UK Health Atlas, which was published last week, shows the risk of developing diseases such as cancer, heart disease and mesothelioma according to where people live.

Health maps provide an indication of the health risk for the area relative to the average for England and Wales but do not represent the risk for an individual living in that area.

The atlas breaks down the figures ward by ward in every county. Also shown on the atlas is the impact of environmental factors like sunshine, agricultural pesticides and water chlorination.

Wealden was shown to be relatively healthy but some diseases were more prevalent than others.

For example, both males and females living in Willingdon, Polegate, Hailsham, Pevensey, Hellingly and Alfriston were at an above average risk of skin cancer compared to the rest of the country. Whereas people living in Chiddingly had a relatively average risk. The higher risk of skin cancer could be because of the amount of sun the South East is exposed to. The environmental map shows Wealden has around four to five hours of sunshine compared to two to three hours in Yorkshire.

Women living in Hailsham South, Chiddingly, Alfriston, Hailsham East, Polegate and Willingdon had a below average risk of lung cancer, while both men and women’s risk of the disease in Hellingly was above average.

Men living in Hailsham Central were more at risk of developing lung cancer than their counterparts in Pevensey and Herstmonceux.

There was a relative average risk of women developing breast cancer in Willingdon, Polegate, Hailsham, Herstmonceux, Alfriston, Hellingly, Chiddingly and Pevensey. And there was an average risk for men developing prostate cancer in these areas, apart from Willingdon where the risk was greater.

There was an average risk of mothers suffering a stillbirth in these areas, apart from Hailsham Central where the risk was below average.

People living in Willingdon, Polegate, Hailsham Central, Herstmonceux, Pevensey and Alfriston are least likely to develop heart disease where as there is an average risk in Hailsham South and Hellingly.

Men in Willingdon, Hailsham East and South, and Hailsham Central are more likely to be at risk of mesothelioma, an industrial disease affecting people who have been exposed to asbestos.

Countrywide the areas with the lowest relative risk of disease are in central London, Norfolk and Brighton and Hove, with the higher risk in the North West and South Wales.