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National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Health Survey for England - 2009, Health and lifestyles

Official statistics, National statistics, Survey
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Geographical Granularity:
Country, Regions, Strategic Health Authorities
Date Range:
01 Jan 2009 to 31 Dec 2009


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 was commissioned originally by the Department of Health and, from April 2005 by The NHS Information Centre for health and social care. The Health Survey for England has been designed and carried out since 1994 by the Joint Health Surveys Unit of the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University College London Medical School (UCL).

The 2009 Health Survey for England focused on long term health conditions and self-assessed general health. It looked at the effectiveness and use of personal care plans, which were introduced in 2006 as part of the strategy to support and empower those with long term conditions. The survey had a secondary focus on kidney disease, renal function and diabetes.

As well as the focus topics, the report also provided updates on the core topics of general health, fruit and vegetable consumption, alcohol consumption and smoking.



  • Men and women reported a similar prevalence of longstanding illness (41 per cent of men, 43 per cent of women). Almost a quarter reported an illness limited their activity in some way (22 per cent of men and 23 per cent of women).
  • 7.6 per cent of men and 7.9 per cent of women reported having been tested for kidney disease, and 1.5 per cent of men and 1.3 per cent of women reported having doctor-diagnosed chronic Kidney Disease. Prevalence of the disease peaked at age 65-74 for both men (3.7 per cent) and women (3.0 per cent).
  • Men and women held similar views of their own health: overall 77 per cent of men and 76 per cent of women reported their health as good or very good, and 7 per cent of both men and women reported their health as bad or very bad.
  • For adults aged 16 and over, self-reported cigarette smoking prevalence was 24 per cent for men and 20 per cent for women. As in previous years, cigarette smoking prevalence varied by age, being higher among younger adults (32 per cent for men and 26 per cent for women aged 25-34) and lower among older adults (11 per cent for men and 8 per cent for women aged 75 and over).
  • The percentage of adults who were obese has gradually increased over the period examined by the HSE, from 13 per cent of men in 1993 to 22 per cent in 2009 and from 16 per cent of women in 1993 to 24 per cent in 2009.
  • Adults were asked to recall their alcohol intake in the week prior to being surveyed. The majority had drunk alcohol during this week (72 per cent of men, 56 per cent of women) whilst 22 per cent of men and 12 per cent of women had drunk alcohol on five or more days during this week. 43 per cent of men and 31 per cent of women had drunk more than the recommended maximum on at least one day.
  • A greater percentage of women than men consumed the recommended five or more portions of fruit and vegetables daily (25 per cent of men, 28 per cent of women). These percentages are similar to those reported in 2008, and are slightly lower than in 2006, when 28 per cent of men and 32 per cent of women consumed at least five portions daily.
  • High blood pressure was 32 per cent in men and 27 per cent in women. The prevalence significantly increased with age in both sexes.


  • Between 1995 and 2009, the prevalence of obesity among boys aged 2-15 increased from 11 per cent to 16 per cent, and the equivalent increase for girls was from 12 per cent to 15 per cent. Among boys, the percentage who were obese has remained between 16 per cent and 19 per cent since 2002. Among girls, there was a significant decrease in obesity between 2005 and 2006 (from 19 per cent to 15 per cent), and levels have been similar from 2006 to 2009. Overall, 61 per cent of boys and 54 per cent of girls aged 8-15 felt that they were about the right weight, while 9 per cent of boys and 13 per cent of girls felt that they were too heavy, and 9 per cent of boys and 6 per cent of girls thought they were too light.


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Last edited: 5 February 2019 1:00 pm