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New high-detail atlas offers tool to explore local environment and health
Date:4/24/2014

all. These adjustments help users to explore the geographical patterns of health risk that aren't just the result of ageing populations or poverty.

Looking across all health conditions there are 33 wards that show more consistent patterns of lower relative health risks compared to only eight at the higher end of health risk. Those areas that appear to have the lowest relative risk are in central London, North Norfolk, parts of Suffolk, and Brighton & Hove. The areas with the higher relative risk tend to be in the North West, parts of Yorkshire and South Wales.

Some conditions show a lot of geographical variation that can't be explained by deprivation or ageing. Examples are lung cancer, skin cancer, liver cancer, chronic pulmonary disease (a combination of chronic bronchitis and emphysema) and mesothelioma (a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos). In particular the risks for respiratory problems, such as lung cancer and chronic pulmonary disease are worse in urban areas. Risks of heart disease mortality are predominantly higher in the north of the country. However, the relative risks of breast cancer, prostate cancer, leukaemia, brain cancer, still births and low birth weight are more similar across Wales and England.

"The atlas is a fantastic tool for researchers, policy makers and the public," said lead author Dr Anna Hansell from SAHSU in Imperial College London's School of Public Health. "It is the first publication in the UK to amalgamate data at this level of resolution on health and environment. It connects people to health and environment at a neighbourhood level and provides resources to learn about these issues. It also allows us to identify the important questions that need answering about patterns of health and environment risk for future avenues of research."

The atlas uses data from the Office of National Statistics and cancer registries for 1985 to 2009. For health data, the maps illustrate relative risk - the rates or
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Contact: Franca Davenport
f.davenport@imperial.ac.uk
44-020-759-42198
Imperial College London
Source:Eurekalert  

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