Health Survey for England 2010 focuses on respiratory health


If you incline to start presentations with a ‘killer’ statistic, then the annual Health Survey for England (HSE) is one for you. HSE monitors trends in the nation’s health, and progress towards selected health targets. It helps commissioners to have a better understanding of health issues and enables decision makers to shape policies to improve services.

The sample

The survey examines a representative sample of the population, and combines information gathered through interviews with objective measures including height, weight and blood pressure measurements. A total of 8,420 adults and 5,692 children were interviewed.

This, the 20th survey, was conducted by the Joint Health Surveys Unit, National Centre for Social Research and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCL Medical School.

Focus on respiratory health

In 2010 HSE focused on respiratory health and lung function in adults and children. Respiratory symptoms (wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath) are very common among adults in England. Asthma is now the most common chronic condition among children, and one of the most common chronic diseases amongst adults worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, more than half of those affected by asthma are suffering from allergic asthma (caused by an allergic reaction).

Further modules of questions looked at contraception and sexual health, wellbeing, kidney disease and dental health.

Key findings

Respiratory conditions: the prevalence of lifetime doctor-diagnosed asthma was 16% among men, 17% among women

Obesity: 68% of men and 58% of women were overweight or obese in 2010. 26% of adults were defined as obese

Dental Health:  94% men and 92% women still had some of their natural teeth.

Kidney disease: 1% of men and 1.3% of women reported having doctor-diagnosed chronic kidney disease, and the prevalence increased with age

Well-being: well-being increased with household income. Using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale, men and women on the highest income level scored more than five points higher (on a scale running from 14 to 70) than those on the lowest income level

Sexual health: Men reported a mean of 9.3 female sexual partners in their life (so far) while women reported a mean of 4.7 male sexual partners.


Health Survey for England, The NHS Information Centre for health and social care, December 15, 2011

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