Ayrshire’s poor health exposed

RESIDENTS of Ayrshire and Arran are officially among the most unhealthy in Scotland, according to latest health statistics.

The recently-published Scottish Health Survey 2011 revealed less than 20 per cent of people living in Ayrshire and Arran ate five portions of fruit and veg a day, while less than 40 per cent had participated in sport or exercise within the four days prior to being surveyed.

Both those figures put the region among only a handful of areas that fell below the Scottish average.

Ayrshire and Arran folk also had among the highest prevalence of no natural teeth, with 15 per cent of the population lacking their own chompers. This is despite dental health in 11 and 12 year olds being among the best in Scotland.

That figure compared to 11 per cent at national level, and was second only to Orkney at 14 per cent.

The bad news was not limited to physical health however. Ayrshire and Arran also recorded the lowest mean score for mental wellbeing of Scotland’s 14 health boards.

The area produced a figure of 49.2; nearly a percentage point below the Scottish average of 49.9 and well short of the highest figure, 50.8, from Shetland.

Maggie Watts, a consultant in public health medicine for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, said the figjures show there remains progress to be made.

“We would like to see a population that is free from the negative consequences of tobacco, alcohol and obesity, and one where individuals have positive mental wellbeing,” she said. “This will benefit both them and the NHS in the future.”