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Welsh Health Survey

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  • Release date: 7 October 2015
  • Period covered: 2014
  • Next update: June 2016
The survey provides information on health status, illnesses, lifestyle, health service use and children.

2014 results

These statistics on the health and health-related lifestyle of people living in Wales are based on data from the Welsh Health Survey 2014.

Please note that additional tables are presented in Excel alongside the report, which provide more detailed data breakdowns, including trend data.

Key points

Health-related lifestyle
  • 20% of adults reported that they currently smoked.
  • 40% of adults reported drinking above the guidelines on at least one day in the past week, including 24% who reported drinking more than twice the daily guidelines (sometimes termed binge drinking). However, people do not necessarily drink at these levels regularly.
  • 32% of adults reported eating five or more portions of fruit and vegetables the previous day.
  • 31% of adults reported being physically active on 5 or more days in the past week(1) and 34% on 0 days.
  • 58% of adults were classified as overweight or obese, including 22% obese.
  • There has been a decrease in smoking rates since the survey started in 2003/04. Obesity levels have increased during this time but not for the past 2 years, however changes from year to year are not statistically significant and it is too soon to judge if this represents a sustained levelling off of rates. There has been little change in physical activity during this time, rates fluctuate from year to year and the apparent slight increase for the most recent year was not statistically significant. Compared with guidelines, there has been a small decline in levels of drinking and in fruit and vegetable consumption since 2008 (when the current questions were introduced).


(1) Did at least 30 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity on 5 or more days in the previous week.

Health status, illnesses and other conditions
  • 50% of adults reported currently being treated for an illness such as 20% of adults currently being treated for high blood pressure, 13% for a respiratory illness, 12% for arthritis, 12% for a mental illness, 9% for a heart condition and 7% for diabetes.
  • 33% of adults reported that their day-to-day activities were limited because of a health problem/disability, including 15% who were limited a lot.
  • 19% of adults reported fair or poor general health.
  • Since the survey started in 2003/04, there has been a slight increase in adults reporting being treated for diabetes and mental illness, and a slight decrease for arthritis. Levels of high blood pressure are higher, and heart conditions are lower, than in 2003/04, but there has been little change in recent years. There has also been a slight decrease in reporting of fair or poor general health during this time.
Health of children
  • 94% of children were reported to have very good or good general health.
  • 21% of children were reported as having a long-standing illness, including 6% with a limiting long-standing illness.
  • 65% children were reported as eating fruit every day, and 56% were reported as eating vegetables every day.
  • 35% of children were reported as undertaking physical activity for at least an hour on every day of the previous week.
  • There has been little change in children’s reported health since 2007 (when the current questions were introduced) apart from in fruit and vegetable consumption which has shown an increase over the last few years.

Future of the Welsh Health Survey

Change in Welsh Health Survey publication format

The way in which Welsh Health Survey results are published has changed from 2014 onwards. The initial headline results continue to be published as before, but the annual report and local authority/health board report are replaced by a series of topic-based reports staggered throughout the year, with results for the highest priority topics published first. The change is to allow the prompter release of statistics which users highlighted as most useful.

Post Welsh Health Survey 2015

It has been decided to replace existing surveys, including Welsh Health Survey, with a new survey of adults starting during 2016-17 which will include health related questions. Welsh Health Survey will run until the end of 2015 and then cease in its current form. Further information on this change in approach can be found on the National Survey for Wales webpage.


Tel: 029 2082 6710