Health and health behaviours

Health is a key determinant of life satisfaction and quality-of-life. Beyond the negative consequences of poor health to individuals, impaired health is bad for the economy through direct costs including healthcare expenses, alongside indirect costs such as absence from work and reduced tax incomes. Good health is not shared equally by all people and despite significant efforts to reduce health inequalities in the UK, systematic differences in health remain between groups. Our briefing note on this topic looks at several measures of health including self-reported heath as well as long-term illness and number of workdays lost to sickness: CSI 17: Who is at greatest risk of poor health?

As well as health outcomes, we also investigate patterns of progress in the behaviours that have direct consequences for health outcomes. Our first briefing note is on smoking for which the health risks are clear: in 2013, 17 per cent of deaths among adults aged 35 and over in England were due to smoking. Approximately half of life-long smokers are expected to die as a consequence of smoking, losing on average 20 years of life. Find out how patterns of smoking have been changing over time and how patterns vary between groups in our latest report, published 17th December 2015: CSI 18 Adult smoking.

Equally – if not more – worrying is smoking among young people. Two-thirds of smokers began to smoke before the age of 16, and up to half of young people who ever try smoking become regular smokers. Find out how patterns of smoking among young people have changed over time and the potential influence of policy changes on young people’s smoking behaviours in our latest report, published 21st April 2016: CSI 24: Smoking among young people