Nearly 90% of adults have at least one lifestyle risk factor

Junk food, pizza and fries

Nearly nine in ten adults in England have at least one lifestyle trait that puts their health at risk, an NHS Digital survey has revealed.

The 2017 Health Survey for England, published on 4 December 2018, found that 36% of adults aged 16 years and over have a lifestyle with one risk factor, 32% have a combination of two risk factors, while 19% have three or more risk factors.

Just 13% of adults had no lifestyle risk factors to their health. 

The risk factors analysed in the survey included smoking tobacco, drinking more alcohol than is recommended, not eating enough fruit and vegetables, a lack of exercise and being obese.

According to the report, a growing body of research also suggests that a “substantial proportion of adults in the UK have multiple risks to their health”.

The report added: “Interventions which attempt to modify multiple risk factors may be a more efficient and cost-effective way of improving overall health than interventions that tackle specific risks, such as smoking cessation or physical activity promotion.”

Dame Parveen Kumar, board of science chair for the British Medical Association, called on the government to “place far greater restriction on junk food marketing” to curb obesity, and demanded “strong action” to cut rates of smoking and alcohol consumption in the general population.

Last updated
Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, December 2018;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205861