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Summary of key findings
The Health Survey for England
The Health Survey for England is a series of annual surveys about the health of people living in private households in England. It was commissioned by the Department of Health to provide information about various aspects of people's health, and to monitor selected health targets.
The survey combines questionnaire-based interviews with physical measurements and the analysis of blood samples. Blood pressure, height and weight, smoking, drinking and general health are covered every year. Each year's survey also has a particular focus on a disease or condition or population group.
The 2002 Health Survey focused on the health of children and young people, and on the health of infants (aged under 1) and their mothers.
The sample was in two parts. One was a general population sample which involved selecting about 6,500 addresses. At each address, all persons were eligible for interview. The other was a boost sample designed to increase the number of children and young adults and mothers of infants under 1. About 21,000 addresses were screened for people aged 0-24 and for mothers of infants under 1. In households with three or more children, in both parts of the sample, two children were randomly selected.
Interviews were obtained with 8,067 children aged 0-15 and 3,625 young adults aged 16-24. 475 mothers with infants aged under 1 were interviewed; among the infants under 1, 449 were included in the sample.
Interviews were carried out at 76% of households in the general population sample and 74% of eligible households in the boost sample. Interviews were obtained with 99% of (sampled) children and 89% of young adults in co-operating households.
Topics covered in the survey
The coverage of HSE 2002 was similar to several earlier years including 2001 and 1997. The special topics included in these years were respiratory conditions (asthma and asthma-related symptoms), lung function, non-fatal accidents, physical activity and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (which is completed by parents of children aged 4-15 to describe the behaviour of each child).
'Core' topics, repeated every year for both adults and children, include general health, fruit and vegetable consumption, prescribed medicines, cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption; and anthropometry (height and weight) and blood pressure measurements. Adults are also asked questions on social support and social capital. The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ12) was administered to those aged 13 and over. Saliva samples were obtained from those aged 4 and over and blood samples from those aged 11-24.
A new module of questions on maternal health was introduced in 2002. This was asked of all women who were the natural mothers of an infant aged under 1. The module provided a wide range of information about the infant and the mother, the pregnancy, the delivery, pregnancy-related illness, post-natal service use, and other relevant factors.
This booklet presents selected findings from the 2002 Health Survey. For some topics the sample size available for analysis has been increased by combining the samples for 2001 and 2002. Comparisons are made with the 1997 Health Survey, which also focused on children and young people. The full results have been published in three separate volumes. Volume I presents the main findings on children and young people. The information on infants and mothers is presented in Volume II, and Volume III provides details of the survey methodology.