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National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Health Survey for England, 2014

Official statistics, National statistics, Survey
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Geographical Granularity:
Country, Regions, Strategic Health Authorities
Date Range:
01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014


The Health Survey for England series was designed to monitor trends in the nation's health, to estimate the proportion of people in England who have specified health conditions, and to estimate the prevalence of risk factors associated with these conditions. The surveys provide regular information that cannot be obtained from other sources on a range of aspects concerning the public's health. The surveys have been carried out since 1994 by the Joint Health Surveys Unit of NatCen Social Research and the Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL.

Each survey in the series includes core questions and measurements (such as blood pressure, height and weight, and analysis of blood and saliva samples), as well as modules of questions on topics that vary from year to year. New topics this year include hearing and mental health. The achieved sample for the 2014 survey was 8,077 adults (aged 16 and over) and 2,003 children (aged 0-15).

This year tables are in excel spreadsheets and the way the findings are presented in the report and summary has changed. We would very much like to hear readers' views about these changes. Please tell us via the short reader survey at the bottom of this page in Related links.

Please note this release was updated on 15 January 2016 to add chapter 2 - Mental Health Problems and chapter 3 - Attitudes towards Mental Illness and their associated excel tables and to update the Summary of Key Findings.



  • In 2014, a minority of adults, (15 per cent of men and 21 per cent of women), did not drink alcohol. The majority, 63 per cent of men and 62 per cent of women, drank at levels considered to be at lower risk of alcohol-related harm: that is 21 units or less per week for men and 14 units or less for women. 22 per cent of men and 16 per cent of women drank more than this.
  • Obesity
  • Around a quarter of adults in 2014 were obese1, (24 per cent of men and 27 per cent of women). Being overweight2 was more common than being obese and 41 per cent of men and 31 per cent of women were overweight, but not obese.
  • Providing unpaid social care
  • All survey respondents aged 16 and over were asked if they had given unpaid social care in the last month to someone because of long-term physical or mental ill-health, a disability or problems relating to old age. 17 per cent provided this type of unpaid help or support to other people. Most commonly, they did so for between 1-9 hours in the last week; 48 per cent of adults who provided such care.
  • Social Care for people aged 65 or over
  • 24 per cent of older men and 33 per cent of older women needed help with at least one activity related to personal care and mobility about the home that is basic to daily living, such as having a bath or shower or getting up and down stairs (described as Activities of Daily Living or ADLs). Overall, 11 per cent of men and 13 per cent of women received at least some help with one or more ADLs in the last month, which is slightly under half of those reporting that they needed help.
  • Planning for future social care
  • Participants aged 30 and over were asked whether they had thought about how they will pay for care when they are older. Almost half (49 per cent) said they had thought it; 40 per cent said that they hadn't thought about it at all, and 11 per cent said they knew that they should have thought about it but hadn't yet.
  • Hearing
  • 18 per cent of adults reported hearing difficulties. 8 per cent reported that they had moderate or great difficulty, having a conversation with several people in a group. 5 per cent reported that they used a hearing aid.
  • Mental Health problems
  • 26 per cent of adults reported having ever been diagnosed with at least one mental illness.


  1. Obese is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI kg/m2) of 30 or more.
  2. Overweight is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI kg/ m2) from 25 to less than 30.


Related Links

Last edited: 15 September 2020 9:51 am