>Nasty, brutish and short – the north-south divide and health


The north-south divide is one of the most frequently debated economic, social and political issues in the UK. Politicians and academics argue over its precise boundaries, its implications for social policy and how to mitigate its impact. Some (including Tony Blair) have gone so far as to question whether the divide exists at all.
One of the most striking aspects of the divide is its impact on health. Experian compiled data on admissions for type II diabetes, creating a data set that was instantly christened the Obesity League Table. Whilst the table is an imperfect indicator of obesity, it does highlight the stark divide between those most or least likely to develop type II diabetes.
The top five locations where Type 2 diabetes is most prevalent are Hull, Knowsley (Merseyside), Blackburn (Lancashire), South Tynside and Easington (County Durham). All of the top twenty locations are north of the traditional Severn Estury – Humber dividing line.
The five areas least likely to be home to those afflicted with Type 2 diabetes were all in Greater London (Kingston, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Richmond and Wandsworth). The only place north of the line to feature in this healthier top 20 was the City of Edinburgh.