AYLESTONE, Leominster and Three Elms are among the three worst places to live in the county, according to a new atlas that tracks health and disease across the UK.

The maps, available online, show the relative risks in specific areas to health conditions like skin cancer, heart disease and low birth rate.

Wards in Leominster were the most at-risk in terms of skin cancer, with both north and south wards graded significantly higher than the national average in the research conducted by the Small Area Health Statistics Unit.

Another map within the atlas shows that the west of the county enjoys more sunshine than the east – on average between 20 minutes and an hour more each day – which could in part explain why Hope End, on the Worcestershire border, also ranks highly in skin cancer patients.

Bircher, to the north of Leominster, and Leominster South are among the worst areas in the West Midlands for heart disease.

The Environmental Health Atlas shows that residents of Bircher are around 20 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease than the UK average.

The other area that is portrayed as at-risk from heart disease, Burghill and Holmer, is part of three wards on the northern edge of Hereford that present considerable health problems.

Aylestone presents the highest rates in both lung disease and low birth weight – which itself is linked to a health complications later in a child’s life – while also having an above average number of skin cancer patients.

Interestingly Herefordshire’s men rate better off than women when it comes lung cancer; no ward in the county is rated as riskier than the national average for contracting lung cancer in men.

And, when it comes to heart disease, on average women fair better than men but they are responsible for the most severe ‘black spot’ wards on the map.

Credenhill and Three Elms are shown as the most at-risk areas in the county for contracting COPD, a collection of lung diseases often caused by smoking.

According to the atlas, the healthiest area s to live in are in the south and west of the county.

Pontrilas ranks as well below average in almost every category, while the women of the Golden Valley and Vallets have the healthiest lungs in the county.