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National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Health Survey for England - 2006: Latest trends

Official statistics, National statistics, Survey
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Geographical Granularity:
Date Range:
01 Jan 2006 to 31 Dec 2006


The Health Survey for England is a series of annual surveys designed to measure health and health related behaviours in adults and children living in private households in 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 consists of an interview and nurse visit. It has a series of core elements that are included every year and special topics that are included in selected years. Core topics include general health, smoking, drinking and fruit and vegetable consumption, height, weight, blood pressure measurements and blood and saliva samples. Special topics include cardiovascular disease, physical activity, accidents, lung function measurement and certain blood analytes. The trend tables focus upon key changes in core topics and measurements.

This year the trend tables have been reformatted for ease of use and for the first time, include figures for all adults and for all children as well as for men and women and boys and girls. Tables for adults and children are presented in separate workbooks. New tables have been introduced this year on waist circumference and a combination of BMI and waist circumference for adults, and physical activity levels for children.

Detailed findings for 2006 are reported in the main report: Health Survey for England 2006, cardiovascular disease and risk factors in adults, and Obesity and other risk factors in children.

Key Facts

Among adults aged 16 and over:

  • The proportion of adults with a normal BMI decreased between 1993 and 2006, from 41.0 per cent to 31.7 per cent among men and from 49.5 per cent to 41.8 per cent among women. There was no significant change overall in the proportion of adults who were overweight, with some fluctuation between years. There was, however, a marked increase in the proportion who were obese, which increased from 13.2 per cent of men in 1993 to 23.7 per cent in 2006 and from 16.4 per cent of women in 1993 to 24.2 per cent in 2006.
  • Among men, the mean waist circumference has risen from 93.2cm in 1993 to 96.8cm in 2006 and among women from 81.7cm to 86.4cm over the same period. The proportion of men with a raised waist circumference (more than 102 cm) rose from 20 per cent in 1993 to 32 per cent in 2006, while for women the proportion with a raised waist circumference (more than 88cm) rose from 26 per cent to 41 per cent.
  • For both men and women the proportion who consumed five or more portions per day remained generally steady between 2001 and 2004, with significant increases in 2005 and 2006 among both men and women. Among men the proportion has increased from 22 per cent in 2001 to 28 per cent in 2006, and from 25 per cent to 32 per cent for women.
  • For both men and women the proportion achieving recommended levels of physical activity has increased. This has been a gradual increase, from 32 per cent in 1997 to 40 per cent in 2006 for men, and from 21 per cent to 28 per cent for women.

Among children:

  • In 2006, 16 per cent of children aged 2 to 15 were classed as obese, an overall increase from 11 per cent in 1995. Despite the overall increase since 1995, the proportion of girls aged 2 to 15 who were obese decreased between 2005 and 2006, from 18 per cent to 15 per cent. There was no significant decrease among boys aged 2 to 15 over that period. Future years' data will show whether these changes are part of a downward trend. Among children aged 2 to 10, 15 per cent were classed as obese in 2006 compared with 10 per cent in 1995.
  • The proportion of children aged 5 to 15 consuming five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day remained steady between 2001 and 2004, followed by an increase from 13 per cent for boys and 12 per cent for girls in 2004 to 19 per cent and 22 per cent respectively in 2006.


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Last edited: 11 April 2018 4:18 pm