Health Statistics

How healthy is the UK?

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Health is a topic that is always in the news in the UK, whether it is about the current status of the NHS, how healthy the nation is or the latest medical breakthroughs. We gave the UK a health check by diving into the latest statistics on obesity, life expectancy, alcohol consumption and more. See all the statistics below, skip to a section using the quick links box or learn more about private health insurance.

General health of the UK

  • Life expectancy: 79.2 years for men and 82.9 years for women.
  • Healthy life expectancy: The age up to which people can expect to live healthily is 63.1 for men and 63.6 for women.
  • UK health spending: £197.4 billion was spent on healthcare by government and privately in 2017, an increase of 3.3% from 2016.
  • Government spending: Government-financed healthcare expenditure accounted for 79% of total spending – at £155.6 billion up from £152.2 billion in 2016.
  • Alcohol: 57% of adults in the UK drink alcohol (aged 16+)
  • Obesity: 64% of UK adults are overweight or obese in 2017.
  • Deaths: 530,000 deaths in the UK in 2017, 5,000 more than in 2016.

Life expectancy

It’s no secret that we are living longer. In fact, life expectancy has increased for both males and females since 2001-2003. We are now living over 3 years longer on average than we did 10 years ago. We explored which regions have the highest life expectancy and the change since 2001-2003.

Life expectancy comparison for regions of England, 2001-2003 and 2015-2017 compared.

English regions 2001 to 2003 2015 to 2017 Change
South East 77.4 years 80.6 years 3.2 years
London 76 years 80.5 years 4.5 years
East of England 77.3 years 80.4 years 3.1 years
South West 77.4 years 80.2 years 2.8 years
East Midlands 76.2 years 79.4 years 3.2 years
West Midlands 75.6 years 78.8 years 3.2 years
Yorkshire and The Humber 75.5 years 78.7 years 3.2 years
North West 74.8 years 78.2 years 3.4 years
North East 74.7 years 77.9 years 3.2 years

Death statistics in the UK

Ultimately a factor of life, we look into the stats for deaths in the UK in the last year. There were over 530,000 deaths in the UK in 2017, a 1.6% increase from 2016 and the highest annual number of deaths since 2003.


deaths registered in the UK in 2017, up 1.6% from 2016.
The top causes of death in the UK were the following:
  1. Dementia and Alzheimer disease.
  2. Ischaemic heart diseases.
  3. Cerebrovascular diseases.
  4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases.
  5. Lung cancer.


of deaths in the UK were caused by Dementia and Alzheimer disease.

Alcohol consumption

It’s no secret that the UK has a strong drinking culture – but just how much of a problem is it?

  • 337,000: alcohol-related hospital admissions in 2018. This is the same figure as in 2017.
  • Alcohol-specific deaths are higher amongst men reported at 55% more common than in females (since 2001).
  • 5,843: alcohol-specific deaths in 2017, 6% higher than in 2016.
  • 57%: of the UK adult population drink alcohol, a total of 29.2 million people.

But how do these figures stack up against the rest of the world?

The UK ranks 17th for alcohol consumption across Europe, while Germany, France and Ireland all rank within the top 10. See the table below for the top 20 countries.

Rank Country Alcohol consumption, litres per capita aged 15+
1 Lithuania 12.3
2 Austria 11.8
3 France 11.7
4 Czech Republic 11.6
5 Luxembourg 11.3
6 Latvia 11.2
7 Hungary 11.1
8 Russia 11.1
9 Ireland 11
10 Germany 10.9
11 Portugal 10.7
12 Poland 10.6
13 Belgium 10.4
14 Estonia 10.3
15 Slovenia 10.1
16 Slovak Republic 9.7
17 United Kingdom 9.7
18 Australia 9.4
19 Switzerland 9.2
20 Denmark 9.1

How bad are obesity figures in the UK?

26% of UK adults are obese according to recent government reports. The stats below explore just how bad obesity figures in the UK are.

  • 64% of UK adults are overweight or obese in 2017.
  • Overall, 67% of men and 62% of women are classified as overweight or obese.
  • 20% of children in Year 6 are classified as obese.
  • 711,000 admissions to hospital where obesity was reported as a factor, up 15% from 2016/17.
  • 10,660 hospital admissions directly related to obesity in 2017/18, only 100 less than in 2016.
  • 29% of adults are obese, up from 26% in 2016.


of UK adults are overweigh or obese.

Work related accidents

See the details of work related accidents in 2017.

  • 621,000: injuries occurred at work in 2017/18.
  • 30.7 million: days lost to ill-health and workplace injuries.
  • £5 billion: estimated loss due to workplace injury or sickness.
  • 147: workers killed in 2017/18, 10 more than in 2016/17.


injuries occurred at the workplace in 2017/18, 12,000 more than in 2016/17.

Mental health

Major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to suicide and ischemic heart disease. Below are some more stats regarding mental health in the UK.

  • 1 in 6 people experienced a common mental health problem within the last week.
  • 1 in 5 women are reported to have mental health problems.
  • 1 in 8 men are reported to have mental health problems.
  • 5,821 suicides in the UK in 2017.
  • 75% of these suicides in the UK were by men.

Sources used

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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