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Welsh Health Survey

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  • Release date: 16 May 2013
  • Period covered: 2012
  • Next update: 21 May 2014
The survey provides information on health status, illnesses, lifestyle, health service use and children.

Welsh Health Survey, 2012

Release date: 11 September 2013

Key points

Health status, illnesses and other conditions
  • 15% of adults reported that their health in general was excellent, 35% very good, 29% good, 15% fair, and 6% poor.
  • 20% of adults reported currently being treated for high blood pressure, 14% for a respiratory illness, 12% for arthritis, 11% for a mental illness, 9% for a heart condition, and 7% for diabetes.
  • 34% of adults reported that their day-to-day activities were limited because of a health problem/disability, including 16% who were limited a lot.
  • Since the survey started in 2003/04, there has been a slight increase in adults reporting being treated for high blood pressure, mental illness and diabetes, and a slight decrease for heart conditions and arthritis.
Health-related lifestyle
  • 23% of adults reported that they currently smoked.
  • 19% of adult non-smokers reported being regularly exposed to other people’s tobacco smoke indoors.
  • 42% of adults reported drinking above the guidelines on at least one day in the past week, including 26% who reported drinking more than twice the daily guidelines (sometimes termed binge drinking). However, people do not necessarily drink at these levels regularly.
  • 33% of adults reported eating five or more portions of fruit and vegetables the previous day.
  • 29% of adults reported being physically active on 5 or more days in the past week(1).
  • 59% of adults were classified as overweight or obese, including 23% obese.
  • There has been a slight decrease in smoking rates and a slight increase in levels of obesity over the nine years of the survey. There has been little change in physical activity during this time. 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).
Health service use
  • 17% of adults reported that they had talked to a GP about their own health in the past 2 weeks.
  • 31% of adults reported attending a hospital outpatient department in the past twelve months, and 9% reported staying in hospital as an inpatient (overnight or longer).
  • 71% of adults reported using a dentist in the past 12 months, 69% a pharmacist, and 48% an optician.
Health of children
  • 68% of children were reported to have very good general health, and 27% of children were reported to have good general health.
  • 19% of children were reported as having a long-standing illness, including 6% with a limiting long-standing illness.
  • 34% of children were classified as overweight or obese, including 19% obese(2).
  • Six years of data is available for children, commencing in 2007. There has been little change in children’s reported health or levels of overweight / obesity during this time.


(1) Did at least 30 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity on 5 or more days in the previous week.
(2) Using a classification system based on the 85th and 95th percentiles of the 1990 UK BMI reference curves, and not comparable with estimates produced on a different basis or with adult estimates.

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

Local authority and health board results, 2011 and 2012

Release date: 11 September 2013

This report presents key findings from the survey at local authority and local health board level. It uses data from 2011 and 2012 combined to improve the precision of the estimates due to the larger sample size used.


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