MIDDLESBROUGH has been named as having one of the most harmful high streets in the UK when it comes to the nation's health.

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has published a league table ranking 70 major towns and cities after scoring them on the extent to which they encourage healthy choices, promote social interaction, provide access to health advice and promote positive mental well-being.

High streets were judged on how many "unhealthy" outlets such as fast food restaurants or takeaways, tanning shops, bookmakers and payday lenders they had.

Middlesbrough was second in the list, just behind Preston ans ahead of Coventry in third.

In contrast, Shrewsbury, Ayr and Salisbury were deemed as boasting the three "healthiest" high streets due to their higher concentrations of pharmacies, health centres, museums, art galleries, leisure centres and libraries. York also made the top ten.

Pubs and bars were also included on the healthy lists as the RSPH said its research had found the majority of the public believed they support social interaction while many said they have a positive effect on mental well-being.

RSPH chief executive Shirley Cramer said: "While our ranking of towns and cities is by no means a reflection on whether these areas are generally healthy or unhealthy, our research does find higher concentrations of unhealthy businesses exist in places which already experience high levels of deprivation and premature mortality."

The unhealthiest and healthiest high streets in the survey

1 Preston
2 Middlesbrough
3 Coventry
4 Blackpool
5 Northampton
6 Wolverhampton
7 Grimsby
8 Huddersfield
9 Stoke-On-Trent
10 Eastbourne
11 Southport
12 Plymouth
13 Leicester
14 Darlington
15 Southampton
16 Swansea
17 Reading
18 Scarborough
19 Maidstone
20 Bradford
21 Leeds
22 Worthing
23 Sheffield
24 Colchester
25 Liverpool
26 Sunderland
27 Exeter
28 Ipswich
29 Guildford
30 Leamington Spa
31 Worcester
32 Birmingham
33 Bournemouth
34 Manchester
35 Lincoln
36 Bedford
37 Glasgow
38 Tunbridge Wells
39 Dundee
40 Newcastle Upon Tyne
41 Aberdeen
42 Norwich
43 Harrogate
44 Cardiff
45 Peterborough
46 Luton
47 Bolton
48 Stockport
49 Brighton and Hove
50 Chester
51 Wakefield
52 Derby
53 Doncaster
54 Taunton
55 Nottingham
56 Bath
57 Canterbury
58 Walsall
59 Chelmsford
60 Edinburgh
61 Bristol
62 York
63 Cheltenham
64 Cambridge
65 Carlisle
66 Hereford
67 Perth
68 Salisbury
69 Ayr
70 Shrewsbury