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Almost half of Brits have a long-term condition, report suggests

6 October 2015

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Almost half of surveyed people in the UK reported having a long-standing illness, according to the Office of National Statistics.

The majority of the UK population (57.6% of men and 51.2% of women) had a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 25, classifying them in the overweight, obese or morbidly obese categories; with 40.6% of men and 45.6% of women described as being healthy (normal weight). Only a small number of the UK population were underweight (1.8% of men and 3.2% of women).

A greater proportion of women (32.5%) were limited in activity levels because of a health problem compared to men (28.6%) and the five most common chronic conditions in the UK for men and women were: allergy, hypertension (high blood pressure), low back disorder, asthma and depression.

The European Health Interview Survey (EHIS) collects health data in a consistent form across European Union (EU) member states, providing the opportunity to compare health indicators with other countries.

In terms of alcohol consumption, more men reported drinking alcohol every day (10.7%) compared with women (5.7%) and a greater proportion of women reported that they did not drink or had never drank alcohol (19.9%), compared to 13.5% of men. On average, men and women drank alcohol on three out of seven days in a week.

The majority of the UK population (81.7% of men and 84.5% of women) were non-smokers, while 14.9% of men and 13.0% of women were daily smokers. Only 3.4% of men and 2.5% of women were described as occasional smokers.

For those who were smokers (daily or occasional), men smoked an average of 12 cigarettes a day while women smoked 11 cigarettes a day.