NHS data reveals state of the nation's health


Some 43 per cent of adults aged 16 and over have at least one longstanding medical condition, according to the Health Survey for England 2018.

The most common problems were conditions of the musculoskeletal system (17 per cent); heart and circulatory system conditions (11 per cent); mental, behavioural and neurodevelopmental conditions (nine per cent); diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic conditions (eight per cent); and respiratory system conditions (eight per cent).

The latest instalment of the annual NHS Digital report found that most conditions increased in prevalence with age. Musculoskeletal conditions affected five per cent of those aged 16 to 24, rising to 40 per cent of those aged 85 and over.

However, the prevalence of mental, behavioural and neurodevelopmental conditions decreased with age, from 12 per cent of those aged 16 to 24 to two per cent of those aged 85 and over.

Over half of adults have risky BMI

For the 2018 report, a total of 8,178 adults aged 16 and over and 2,072 children aged zero to 15 were interviewed to help the NHS monitor trends in the nation's health and care. As well as specific health conditions, the report looks at factors such as adult and child weight, smoking, drinking, gambling and physical activity.
The report found:

  • Around 17 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women, aged 16 and over, had ever had asthma diagnosed
  • More than half of adults (56 per cent) were at increased, high or very high risk of chronic disease due to their waist circumference and BMI
  • Approximately 27 per cent of adults reported less than 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity per week and were classified as ‘inactive’
  • Some 39 per cent of adults had participated in some form of gambling activity during the previous 12 months – excluding National Lottery.

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