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National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Health Survey for England - 2006, CVD and risk factors for adults, obesity and risk factors for children

Official statistics, National statistics, Survey
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Geographical Granularity:
Country, Regions, Strategic Health Authorities
Date Range:
Snapshot on 31 Jan 2008


This report presents detailed findings from the 2006 Health Survey for England. The survey has been commissioned by the Information Centre for health and social care since April 2005 and carried out since 1994 by the Joint Health Surveys Unit. The survey included a sample of adults and children from the general population, representative of the whole population at a national and regional level. The 2006 survey also included an additional boost sample of children aged 2 to 15.

For adults, the 2006 report focused on cardiovascular disease and risk factors, which covered behavioural risks such as physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, fruit and vegetable consumption and fat intake as well as health status risk factors including general health, blood pressure, diabetes and anthropometric measurements. The report on children covers physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, smoking, alcohol consumption, and anthropometric measurements.

Trend tables are also produced each year focusing on key changes in core topics and measurements over time.

Key Facts

Among adults aged 16 and over in England:

  • 13.6 per cent of men and 13.0 per cent of women reported having been diagnosed with a cardiovascular condition.
  • The prevalence of Ischaemic Heart Disease (IHD) and stroke, and many of their risk factors were higher in men than in women. This was the case for IHD or stroke, hypertension, diabetes, low HDL-cholesterol, being overweight, smoking and exposure to other people's smoke. However, low physical activity levels, and raised waist circumference, occurred more frequently in women.
  • Cardiovascular disease and many of its risk factors were found to be related to income. For example, low levels of physical activity and low levels of fruit and vegetable consumption, were found to be more prominent in the lowest income groups. Conversely being overweight (but not obese), was higher among men in high income groups.
  • Doctor-diagnosed diabetes prevalence was 5.6 per cent among men and 4.2 per cent among women.
  • 24 per cent of adults were classified as obese. Men and women were equally likely to be obese, however women are more likely than men to be morbidly obese (3 per cent compared to 1 per cent).
  • Using both BMI and waist circumference to assess health risk, among men 20 per cent were estimated to be at increased risk, 13 per cent at high risk and 21 per cent at very high risk. Equivalent figures for women were 14 per cent at increased risk, 16 per cent at high risk and 23 per cent at very high risk.
  • 40 per cent of men and 28 per cent of women met the minimum recommendations for physical activity in adults (at least 30 minutes of activity on at least 5 days a week).
  • Women were more likely than men to meet the government's guidelines of consuming five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day (32 per cent and 28 per cent respectively).

Among children in England:

  • 16 per cent of children aged 2 to 15 were classed as obese in 2006 and among children aged 2 to 10, 15 per cent were classed as obese.
  • Boys aged 2 to 15 were more likely than girls to meet the recommended levels of physical activity with 70 per cent of boys and 59 per cent of girls reporting taking part in 60 minutes or more of physical activity on all 7 days in the previous week.
  • 19 per cent of boys and 22 per cent of girls aged 2 to 15 consumed five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day.


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Last edited: 5 February 2019 12:42 pm