The latest report, the Health Survey for England (HSE) 2011 has now been published. The survey collects data from a representative sample of approximately 8,000 adults aged 16 and over and 2,000 children in England.
HSE is a series of annual surveys, carried out since 1991, designed to measure health and health related behaviours in adults and children. Each year the survey consists of a series of core elements, plus special topics. This year the core covered general health, smoking, drinking, fruit and vegetable consumption, height, weight, blood pressure measurements and blood and saliva samples.
Special topics included in this report are cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, social care, drinking, ‘Healthy Foundations’ (a set of questions which underpin a social marketing segmentation), chronic pain, and adult and child obesity. Additionally, information was collected on wellbeing, dental health and EuroQol (EQ-5D).
The survey is a National Statistic. It collects a wealth of sociodemographic and behavioural information to enable analysis of factors associated with health such as lifestyle, income, education and household circumstances. Objective measures, such as weight status and blood pressure can be considered alongside self-reported information and lifestyle factors. Repeating questions at regular intervals allows trends in health and health behaviours to be monitored.
The survey is managed and published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre and carried out by the Joint Health Surveys Unit of NatCen Social Research and the Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL (University College London) and the National Centre for Social Research. Although the survey covers England, other countries carry out similar surveys and HSE will provide comparative data.