HEALTH bosses have pledged to continue helping people to be healthy after Oxford was named as one of the top cities for good health.

The city was listed in the 2011 Census as being among the top 10 local authority areas where people reported the highest levels of good health.

According to the census, 87 per cent of people filling in census forms in the city reported good health.

The authority came joint seventh out of a list of 10 local authorities.

People were asked if they rated their health as ‘very good’, ‘good’, ‘fair’, ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’.

Oxford has a population of about 150,000 and the census goes to every household.

It showed about 10 million people in England and Wales were limited in their daily activities because of a health problem or disability.

And the 10 English local authorities with the lowest percentage of “activity-limiting” health problems or disabilities were in London or the South East.

Val Messenger, deputy director of public health for Oxfordshire, who lives in Oxford, said: “It is encouraging to know that such a high percentage of those who responded to the census in Oxford rated their health as ‘good’.

“We will continue our work to help people make healthy choices.”

In 2011, NHS Oxfordshire said the health of people in the county was better than the country’s average.

But a Department of Health report showed that skin cancer rates in Oxfordshire were higher than average, and that children were less physically active than elsewhere, with 44 per cent of schoolchildren taking three hours’ regular exercise compared to the national average of 55 per cent.

Mrs Messenger, 51, said: “We have many services available, such as support to stop smoking, cutting down on alcohol and encouraging people to maintain a healthy weight by eating healthily and taking regular exercise. I would encourage local people to look after their health and if you need help, be sure to use all the support available.”

For her New Year’s resolution, Mrs Messenger decided to run five kilometres every Saturday morning in Cutteslowe Park in North Oxford.

NHS Oxfordshire runs a number of healthy living initiatives, including helping people to stop smoking.

As well as providing advisers on quitting smoking, it offers advice on healthy eating, taking exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Londoners reported their levels of health to be higher than in any other region in England and Wales, with more than half (50.5 per cent) assessing their health as ‘very good’, and a third (33.3 per cent) as ‘good’.

The North East had the least favourable general health, with only 44 per cent reporting ‘very good’ health and 7.4 per cent reporting their health as “bad” or “very bad”.

Wales’s general health profile was largely similar to that of the North East.

The North East region reported the highest percentage of limitations in daily activity at 21.6 per cent, with London reporting the lowest at 14.2 per cent.

Residents in Wandsworth, London, had the lowest proportion of residents limited in their daily activity at 11.2 per cent, with Neath and Port Talbot in Wales the highest at 28 per cent.

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