Intended for healthcare professionals


Variations in population health status: results from a United Kingdom national questionnaire survey

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 07 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:736
  1. Paul Kind (pk1{at}, senior research fellow,
  2. Paul Dolan, research fellow,
  3. Claire Gudex, research fellow,
  4. Alan Williams, professor of economics
  1. Centre for Health Economics, University of York, York YO1 5DD
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Kind
  • Accepted 31 October 1997


Objective: To measure the health of a representative sample of the population of the United Kingdom by using the EuroQoL EQ-5D questionnaire.

Design: Stratified random sample representative of the general population aged 18 and over and living in the community.

Setting: United Kingdom.

Subjects: 3395 people resident in the United Kingdom.

Main outcome measures: Average values for mobility, self care, usual activities, pain or discomfort, and anxiety or depression.

Results: One in three respondents reported problems with pain or discomfort. There were differences in the perception of health according to the respondent's age, social class, education, housing tenure, economic position, and smoking behaviour.

Conclusions: The EQ-5D questionnaire is a practical way of measuring the health of a population and of detecting differences in subgroups of the population.

Key messages

  • Measurement of health outcome requires the observation of states of health

  • Patients' involvement in recording and assessing their own state of health is a major element in the process of evaluating the impact of health care

  • The EuroQoL EQ-5D questionnaire highlights variations in states of health which are consistent with previously published results

  • High degrees of pain are reported in the general population. A category for pain is absent and thus undetected in the survey of disability by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys


  • Accepted 31 October 1997
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