Health Survey for England (HSE)

The Health Survey for England is an annual survey designed to measure health and health related behaviours in adults and children living in private households in England. It has been undertaken since 1991. Since 1995 the survey has also included children aged 2-15 years, and since 2002 infants under 2 have been included.

  • Methodology: Measured height and weight data are recorded as part of a core data set (which also includes general health, smoking, drinking, fruit and vegetable consumption, blood pressure measurements, blood and saliva samples) and topic specific health indicators. Child weight status is classified using the ‘population monitoring’ thresholds of the 85th and 95th centiles of the British 1990 growth reference population (UK90) to classify children as overweight or obese. (In clinical settings the 91st and 98th centiles tend to be used.)
  • Start date: 1991 (adults); 1995 (children 2-15); 2002 (infants under 2)
  • Frequency of survey: Annual
  • Most recent return: 2014
  • Commissioned by: Department of Health 1991 - 2005, post 2005 the Health and Social Care Information Centre
  • Coverage: England, SHA, Lower level synthetically estimated data is also available for adults
  • Caveats: Data not sufficiently robust to measure geographical boundaries smaller than SHA. Physical activity questionnaire has not been validated (although 2008 data includes objective accelerometry data).
  • Link to data source: Health and Social Care Information Centre, Archived data sources[a]
  • Link to associated reports: Health Survey for England 2014

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