13 December 2017
NHS Digital must be quoted as the source of these figures
Nearly two thirds of men (66 per cent) met national aerobic activity guidelines in 2016 compared to 58 per cent of women2, according to NHS Digital figures released today.
The Health Survey for England series3monitors trends in the nation's health and covers a differing variety of topics each year including obesity, smoking and drinking and wellbeing. The surveys gather information from both adults and children.
London had the highest proportion of people aged sixteen or over meeting the guidelines for aerobic activity, at 65 per cent, whereas the West Midlands had the lowest, at 53 per cent. On average, 62 per cent of adults in England met the guidelines.
The UK guidelines for aerobic physical activity recommend that adults aged 19 and over should undertake a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week in bouts of 10 minutes or more.4 Alternatively, comparable benefits can be achieved through 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity spread across the week, or combinations of moderate and vigorous intensity activity5.
50 per cent of people aged sixteen or over met these guidelines in the most deprived areas compared to 68 per cent in the least deprived areas6.
While men were more likely to meet the aerobic activity guidelines than women, the survey also showed that on average men were more sedentary than women when not at their paid work, spending an average of 4.8 hours sitting on a weekday and 5.3 hours on a weekend compared to women's 4.6 weekday hours and 4.9 weekend hours7.
Mental health and wellbeing
The survey also found that the proportion of adults with a high GHQ-12 score, had grown from 15 per cent in 2012 to 19 per cent in 20168.
GHQ-12 is a 12-item questionnaire asking the participants about their general levels of happiness, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance and self-confidence. Therefore, it gives an indication of probable mental ill health rather than the more detailed assessment done for NHS Digital's Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey.
Most age groups showed some increase in probable mental ill health but the largest increases were reported among men aged 16-24 and 25-34 and women aged 16-24. Nine per cent of men in both the 16-24 and 25-34 age brackets had probable mental ill health in 2012 compared to 16 per cent of those aged 16-24 and 18 per cent of those aged 25-34 in 2016. In 2012, 21 per cent of women aged 16-24 had probable mental ill health compared to 28 per cent in 2016.
For the first time, questions have been included on liver disease in the 2016 survey.
This has shown that one per cent of all adults reported doctor-diagnosed chronic liver disease. This was most prevalent among those aged 55-64; three per cent of these reported doctor-diagnosed chronic liver disease.
Forty-eight per cent of adults reported having taken at least one prescribed medicine in the last week and 24 per cent had taken three or more.
People may have more than one health condition and this is more common as people age. 82 per cent of those aged 85 and over had taken three or more medicines in the last week.
The survey also shows that the use of 10 or more prescribed medicines in the past week was relatively uncommon overall at just 3 per cent of all adults. Among older adults, the proportions who had used 10 or more prescribed medicines in the last week was 6 per cent of those aged 65 to 74 and 13 per cent of those aged 85 and over9.
The survey is commissioned by NHS Digital and carried out by NatCen Social Research in conjunction with University College London, who co-author the report.
Read the full report
Health Survey for England 2016
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