Health Survey for England

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The Health Survey for England (HSE) is a statistical survey which is conducted annually in order to collect information concerning health and health-related behaviour of people living in private households in England.


The HSE was originally set up in 1991 to provide information about morbidity with the aim of improving the targeting of national health policies. From 1991 to 1994, the survey was conducted by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys which is now part of the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This changed in 1994 and the survey is now conducted by the Joint Survey Unit of the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London.[1]

Besides certain core questions that remain unchanged, the focus of the HSE changes every year to a different topic. These boost samples are repeated in appropriate intervals to assure continuity and to monitor change. Since 1991, the following topics have been in the focus of the HSE:

From 1991 to 1995 the HSE was restricted to adults aged 16 and over but that changed in 1995 when children aged 2–15 were equally included in the survey. Since 2001, the age restrictions were removed completely except for topics only targeting a certain population group.[3]

Methodology and scope[edit]

The HSE looks at a sample of about 16,000 adults and 4,000 children[4] and the information is collected by interviews with all eligible people of a household, followed by a nurse’s visit. Persons aged 13 and over are interviewed directly whereas information about children under 13 is given by the parents while the children are present. The physical measurements taken include a blood sample.[5]

Survey results[edit]

The main findings of the HSE are published annually in the form of a report by the Health and Social Care Information Centre and the ONS.

Re-using the data[edit]

The data and additional study information is available to download at the


  1. ^ Department of Health, Introduction to the HSE, retrieved September 16, 2009
  2. ^ ESDS Government, HSE webpages Archived 2009-12-08 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved September 16, 2009
  3. ^ Health Survey for England, Latest Trends, retrieved September 16, 2009
  4. ^ Department of Health, Introduction to the HES
  5. ^ ESDS Government, HES webpages

External links[edit]