Nearly nine in 10 adults have at least one unhealthy trait, putting their health at risk, according to data from the new Health Survey for England 2017 from NHS Digital.
At the top of the unhealthy chart is the 19 per cent of adults who have three or more risk factors – classed as smoking, drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week, eating fewer than five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, being obese or being inactive – while 32 per cent had two risk factors and 36 per cent had one. Some 13 per cent of adults had no risk factors.
The statistics also showed that adults in the lowest income households (26 per cent) were twice as likely as those in the highest income households (13 per cent) to have three or more risk factors. And children who have obese parents were found to be around three times more likely to be obese than children of healthy weight parents.
Commenting that the findings make for uncomfortable reading, Leyla Hannbeck, National Pharmacy Association director of pharmacy, said: “Without community pharmacies, which are more commonly found in areas of high deprivation when compared with other health services, the situation would be far worse. The Government knows this. Ministers are increasingly talking about prevention and the prime minister has announced £3.5 billion a year in additional funding for primary and community healthcare. We need to work with commissioners to make sure high-level policy decisions translate into effective and accessible services, with community pharmacy at the heart of them.”
Nadia Bukhari of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board highlighted the crucial role of pharmacy in keeping people healthy. She said: “We have over 2,100 healthy living pharmacies around the country and over 3,500 pharmacy staff trained as qualified health champions. Our role needs to be continually advocated to the public and patients so that we can support them on their healthy lifestyle journey.”