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England’s changing health since the 1990s

Our health has changed in some interesting and unexpected ways since the 1990s. Using data from the Health Survey for England, these graphs show how rates of smoking and drinking have declined quite steadily, and the prevalence of obesity and overweight have increased. Other graphs show the changing proportion of people eating their ‘five-a-day’, shifts in the rate of long-standing illness, the rise in doctor-diagnosed diabetes, and several other indicators that help us track our changing health.

Hover over the graphs to reveal extra context – years when new laws were introduced, for example – and for more information about the trends.

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About the data

Results from surveys are estimates and not precise figures – generally smaller samples have larger uncertainty.  The charts illustrate survey results and include small changes from year to year or small differences between groups that are within these margins of error as well as larger changes.   Our discussion focuses on longer-term trends rather than short-term variation.  We comment only on the larger changes that are more likely to reflect a real change in the population.

For the best experience of browsing these graphs, we recommend viewing them on a desktop computer. Some of the interactive elements may not function as well on mobiles or tablets.