Intended for healthcare professionals


Britons are making healthier lifestyle choices than 40 years ago

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 11 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1583
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

British adults are half as likely to smoke as they were four decades ago and are drinking less heavily and less frequently, show data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2011 General Lifestyle Survey.

The survey’s report, launched at a press conference in London on 7 March, also shows that despite the ageing population, the proportion of people in Great Britain living with a longstanding illness or disability has remained steady over the past 20 years at just under a third.1

The 2011 report marks 40 years of the survey. When the ONS survey first included questions about smoking in 1974, it found that 45% of adults smoked …

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