Brits betting online, eating unhealthily and drinking too much alcohol

The National Health Service (NHS) England has released its latest survey and reveals that millions of people in England are eating unhealthy foods, drinking too much alcohol, are overweight, and turned to online gambling.

The survey has found that more than half of people who are more than 16 years old in England regularly gamble, with more than half (53 percent) spent money on betting in 2018. The results prompt warning that smartphones have fueled online betting and have driven increasing addictive behavior.

Image Credit Wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock
Image Credit Wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock

Smartphone fueling online betting addiction

In total, about 29 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 34 reported joining online gambling in the last year, compared with just 4 percent of people who are 65 years and older.

The Health Survey of England collated data from 10,000 adults and children on their lifestyles, eating habits, and hobbies. It turns out; smartphone betting has been increasing, especially among younger generations.

Specifically, a total of 2,072 children aged 0 to 15 years old and 8,178 adults aged 16 and above were interviewed in the 2018 survey, while more than 5,000 of the participants had a nurse visit.

Further, the survey shows that 15 percent of men had joined in online gambling in the last year, compared with 4 percent in women. Those who are 16 to 24 years old are most likely to become problem gamblers, who encounter problems due to this habit.

Issues on weight, lifestyle, and chronic conditions

The Health Survey of England 2018 aims to gain data on the conditions people experience, including hypertension, diabetes, smoking, drinking, physical activity, and adult and child weight. The other information made available is social care for older adults, the use of e-cigarettes, and fruit and vegetable consumption.

The recent survey also revealed that millions of people in England are overweight. A majority of adults in England are overweight or obese in 2018. The report said that 67 percent of men and 60 percent of women are overweight, which included 26 percent of men and 29 percent of women who were obese, and 2 percent of men and 4 percent of women were morbidly obese.

Central obesity is still an issue, with 34 percent of men and 48 percent of women had high measurements in the waist area. In turn, more than half (56 percent) of adults were at a high risk of chronic disease due to their BMI and waist circumference.

Among children, 26 percent of children of obese mothers were also obese, compared to 16 percent of children whose mothers were just overweight and 7 percent of kids whose mothers had normal BMI. Subsequently, 22 percent of children of obese fathers had obesity, compared with just 14 percent whose fathers were overweight, and 9 percent of those with fathers who have a normal BMI.

The survey revealed that 43 percent of adults over 16 years old had at least one chronic medical condition, while 16 percent of children below 15 years old had one chronic condition.

Fewer people also engaged in physical activity in the previous year, with 27 percent of adults reporting they had less than 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous exercise each week and were classified as physically inactive.

When it comes to health-related behaviors, though the rates of current cigarette smoking among adults had declined between 1993 and 2018, e-cigarette use and alcohol consumption rates increased. Currently, 18 percent of current cigarette smokers used e-cigarettes. Also, 82 percent of adults in England had drunk alcohol in the previous year.

Fewer people are also consuming the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Only 28 percent of adults were eating the recommended five portions of greens per day.

Commissioned by annually by NHS Digital, the survey is conducted by NatCen Social Research in collaboration with University College London.


NHS Digital. (2019). State of the nation’s health in 2018 shown in new report -

Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo

Written by

Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo

Angela is a nurse by profession and a writer by heart. She graduated with honors (Cum Laude) for her Bachelor of Nursing degree at the University of Baguio, Philippines. She is currently completing her Master's Degree where she specialized in Maternal and Child Nursing and worked as a clinical instructor and educator in the School of Nursing at the University of Baguio.


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