Nine in 10 adults guilty of unhealthy lifestyle choices, NHS Health Survey shows

The NHS’s new Health Survey shows a startling rise in unhealthy life choices amongst UK adults

According to the latest NHS Health Survey for England, nine out of 10 adults are guilty of at least one unhealthy lifestyle choice.

These choices include smoking, limited exercise, not enough fruits and vegetables and drinking excessively.

The report also found that one in 20 women are now classified as morbidly obese (with a BMI ober 40) – a figure that was one in 100 in 1994.

Men are more likely to be overweight, but less likely to be morbidly obese.

Half of adults have at least two of the above bad habits, heightening the risk of diabetes and cancer among them.

The report also shows that just 29% of adults eat the recommend five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, and men were found to, on average, consume 15 units of alcohol a week (one more than the recommended level).

In general, men have been found to be more unhealthy, with 54% having two or more of the unhealthy lifestyle choices listed, compared with 47% of women.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has responded to this report, stating that more action is required to tackle preventable ill-health. BMA board of science chair, Prof. Dame Parveen Kumar, said:

“It is very concerning that we are still seeing rising levels of obesity given the serious cost to our health this brings. Rather than seeing improvement, there is in fact, an overall increase in levels of obesity, particularly among women, with children of obese parents three times more likely to be obese themselves.

“Almost two-thirds of adults and nearly a third of children in England are either overweight or, worse, obese. The government must, without delay, place far greater restriction on junk food marketing and introduce a simple standardised approach to food labelling.

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“In addition, the government needs to underpin efforts by local authorities to increase active travel, make the best use of green spaces, and halt the growth of fast food outlets in their towns and cities.

“The data also shows that strong action is needed on smoking and alcohol, as highlighted in our recent report which showed the significant contribution smoking and drinking make to preventable ill-health and the link to a higher prevalence of cancer, liver disease, heart disease and strokes.

“The BMA has long been calling for the government to make the population’s health a priority by investing in services to reduce smoking, alcohol consumption and those which promote physical activity and a better diet.

“This is hugely important and will ultimately save people’s lives by cutting the number of those dying early from preventable ill-health as well as improving the health and well-being for those people in most need.”

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