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How healthy is the UK?
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: 79.3 years for men and 82.9 years for women (2018).
- Healthy life expectancy: The age up to which people can expect to live healthily is 63.1 for men and 63.6 for women (2018).
- UK health spending: £152.9 billion was spent on health care by the government in 2018/19.
- Alcohol: 57% of adults in the UK drink alcohol (aged 16+).
- Obesity: 67% of UK adult males and 60% of UK adult females are overweight or obese in 2018.
- Deaths: 541,500 deaths in the UK in 2018, 10,000 more than in 2017.
- Smoking: 17.2% of UK adults (aged 15+) smoke daily.
Number of hospital beds
With the number of Coronavirus cases increasing fast, there has been a lot of speculation about hospital capacity in the UK. As of 2020, there is an average of 127,708 hospital beds available per night across Britain’s 1,257 hospitals. This means there is one hospital bed for every 430 Brits, which is 47% less beds compared to the year 2000.
Even though the number of hospital beds aren’t that high, Brits do seem to have confidence that the NHS will be able to take care of the population in a scenario where the coronavirus outbreak results in higher need for care.
Coronavirus statistics (as of 23rd March)
- The COVID-19 epidemic has a fatality rate of around 5% in the UK and 4.36% for reported cases globally.
- This is over 50 times higher than the death rate for the seasonal flu, which has a fatality rate of 0.1% on average.
- The fatality rate for Covid-19 goes up to as much as 15% for people over the age of 80 and those with pre-existing health risks, such as high blood pressure or respiratory issues.
- Almost 6,000 Brits have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and close to 300 people have died.
- In total, over 15,500 people have died of covid-19 worldwide.
Coronavirus fatality rate by age
In the UK females have a longer life expectancy than males at 82.9 years compared to 79.3 years respectively. Explore the table below to see how life expectancy has changed from 2013–2015 to 2016–18 and which regions have the highest life expectancy.
Across most regions in the UK, the average life expectancy has increased and nowhere has seen a bigger increase than London with the average life expectancy now 25 weeks longer than it was in 2013–2015. Whereas in Scotland, the average life expectancy has decreased by 2.9 weeks on average.
Life expectancy comparison for males and females in UK regions, 2013–2015 and 2016–2018 compared
|Region||Males Life Expectancy in 2016 to 2018 (years)||Change since 2013 to 2015 (weeks)||Females Life Expectancy in 2016 to 2018 (years)||Change since 2013 to 2015 (weeks)||Average change, males and females (weeks)|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||78.7||5.5||82.4||4.3||4.9|
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 541,500 deaths in the UK in 2018, an increase of 1.6% from 2017 and the highest annual number of deaths since 1999 (553,500).
deaths registered in the UK in 2018, up 1.6% from 2017.
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- Ischaemic heart diseases
- Cerebrovascular diseases
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases
- Lung cancer
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 among 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+|
Smoking in the UK compared to the rest of the world
We looked at the latest statistics to see how many adults (aged 15+) are smoking daily in the UK compared to other countries around the world. 17.2% of the adult population smokes daily, this ranks the UK at 15th in our sample. The country with the highest percentage of daily smokers is Indonesia, where 39.9% of adults smoke daily.
|Country||Percentage of population who smoke daily|
|China (People's Republic of)||24.7%|
*2018 or latest available data, for further details see OECD website
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.
See the details of work-related accidents in 2017.
- 621,000 injuries occurred at work in 2017/18.
- 28.2 million days lost to ill health and workplace injuries in 2018/19.
- £5.2 billion estimated loss due to workplace injury or sickness in 2017/18.
- 147 workers killed in 2017/18, 10 more than in 2016/17.
Major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to suicide and ischaemic 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.
- 6,507 suicides in the UK in 2018, almost 700 more than in 2017 (5,821).
- Three quarters of these suicides in the UK were by men.
Cost of health insurance
Brits spent £6 billion on voluntary health insurance in 2017, around 3% of overall spending on health care in the UK. We looked into the CPI of health insurance to find out how much inflation is impacting the cost of health insurance in the UK. Using 2015 as a base year, we can see that health insurance costs 21% more in 2019 than it did in 2015 and 5% more than in 2018. Explore the table and graphic below to find out more.
|Year||Consumer price index (CPI) of health insurance (2015 base year)|
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