A NEW report into the health of England’s counties and local authorities has given Somerset an above-average Health Index score.

An analysis of the ONS’ latest health index figures has rated Somerset well above the average of 100, according to a report compiled by BIOHIT HealthCare. 

Somerset West and Taunton scored 106.30, while South Somerset scored 106.50, and North Somerset scored 104.1. That’s compared to Dorset, which was rated the healthiest county in England with a score of 112.8.

The ONS Health Index score uses a broad variety of risk factors and health outcomes, like physical and mental health, unemployment, and road safety rates, to determine the population’s overall health in a single score.

Professor Trudi Grant, Executive Director of Public and Population Health for Somerset Council and NHS Somerset said: ‘As a whole, it is great to see that Somerset residents continue to experience better health than the average. 

‘Somerset Council and the local NHS are working hard together to improve health and reduce the health inequalities experienced by some parts of our population. Importantly though, we shouldn't be complacent, many people in Somerset live with long term conditions, several of which are preventable. 

‘The good news is there are lots of things we can do to reduce our risk of long-term conditions. We all know that stopping smoking, eating a healthier diet taking regular activity and drinking alcohol in moderation improves our health.

‘There are also smaller steps that could start our journey to a healthier lifestyle, for example having a free blood pressure check at your pharmacy, or having a free NHS health check if you are eligible. It’s never too late to start!’ 

Elsewhere in the country, Blackpool scooped the lowest health score with a rating of 76.5. The West Midlands was given the worst health score of any county, 90.3.

Harrogate in North Yorkshire was the area with the best health score in England, with a rating of 124.9. The ONS Health Index score is designed to help measure differences in health across the country over time.