World Statistics Day: focus on changing health in England

Article dated: 19 October 2010

Health data collected from large-scale government surveys give researchers a view on how our health habits are changing over the years - everything from food and nutrition to the amount and type of exercise, smoking and drinking we choose.

Below are a few facts gleaned from the Health Survey for England, just one of the many large-scale data collections available directly through our flagship service, the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS).

Obese men

1993: 13.2 per cent

2008: 24.1 per cent

Women smoking 20 or more cigarettes a day

1993: 8 per cent

2008: 4 per cent

Adults drinking more than recommended limit

1998: 27 per cent

2008: 36 per cent

Adults eating 5 or more portions of fruit/vegetables per day

2006: 30 per cent

2008: 27 per cent

Women aged 65-74 engaging in 30 minutes or more of physical activity on at least 5 days a week

1997: 8 per cent

2008: 17 per cent

Children with a longstanding illness

1995: 21 per cent

2008: 17 per cent

Source: NHS Information Centre

The Health Survey for England (HSE) is a series of annual surveys started in 1991 to understand the health of people living in England. Since 1994 the survey has been carried out by the Joint Health Surveys Unit of the National Centre for Social Research and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London. The survey is sponsored by the Department of Health to provide better and more reliable information about various aspects of people’s health and to monitor selected health targets.

World Statistics Day is a day set aside to acknowledge the service provided by the global statistical system, and to help raise awareness and public trust in official statistics.