The 2015 Health Survey for England2 (HSE) found that 16 per cent3 of children aged 8 to 15 reported ever having an alcoholic drink4. This is the lowest level ever reported since the HSE began, down from the highest point of 45 per cent in 2003.
The figures, published today by NHS Digital, also show that the proportion of 8 to 15 year olds who reported that they had ever smoked a cigarette5 has decreased from 19 per cent in 2003 to 4 per cent in 2015.
The Health Survey for England (HSE) gathers information from adults and children to monitor trends in the nation's health. The 2015 survey includes information on adult health and social care and, for this survey, the number of 2 to 15 year olds included in the survey was increased to enable a specific focus on child health issues.
In 2015, 28 per cent of children aged 2 to 15 were either overweight (14 per cent) or obese (14 per cent). The proportion of boys who were overweight or obese (30 per cent) was higher than the proportion of girls who were overweight or obese (26 per cent).
The surveys show that the prevalence of childhood obesity6 in England increased between 1995, when it was first measured, and 2005, but has remained relatively stable at between 14 per cent and 17 per cent since 2008.
Children from lower income household7 were more likely to be obese compared with those from higher income households. 18 per cent of children from households in the lowest income quintile were obese, compared with 9 percent of children living in households in the highest income quintile.
For the 5 to 15 age group, 22 per cent of children met the physical activity8 guidelines of being moderately active for at least 60 minutes every day.
The survey also includes data on adult health such as:
- The prevalence of cigarette smoking has fallen from 28 per cent in 1998 to 18 per cent in 2015
- In 2015, the proportion of adults who reported that they were current e-cigarette users was 5 per cent. This is an increase from 2013 when it was 3 per cent
- The prevalence of adult obesity has remained between 24 per cent and 27 per cent, for men and women, from 2010 to 2015
- In 2015 over a quarter of adults (27 per cent) were obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30kg/m2 or higher
- A further 41 per cent of men and 31 per cent of women were overweight, with a BMI of at least 25 but less than 30kg/m2
- 35 per cent of men and 47 per cent of women had 'very high' waist measurements. This was more common in middle aged and older adults than it was among younger people
- In 2015, 83 per cent of adults had drunk alcohol in the last 12 months. This figure has remained between 82 per cent and 84 per cent since 2011
- More than half (52 per cent) of adults said they usually drank at least once a week, with men (60 per cent) more likely to have done so than women (44 per cent)
- Drinking over 14 units in a usual week was most common among men and women aged 55 to 64 (41 per cent and 24 per cent respectively)