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Unhealthy lifestyles

In the UK today, there is a significant problem with people leading unhealthy lifestyles, including drinking more alcohol than is recommended, eating unhealthy food, smoking and not engaging in enough physical activity.

Unhealthy lifestyles can have serious consequences, causing disease both in the short and long term, the effects of which can be dramatic for the individual and their families and also in terms of the financial costs to our wider society.

Surprising facts...


Around 26% of adults in Herefordshire are drinking to a level that puts them at risk of damaging their health.

Approximately 600 people a year are admitted to hospital within the county, as a result of alcohol consumption and more than half are male.

Alcohol misuse is estimated to cost society, as a whole, £21 billion a year in England.


Around 14% of adults smoke in Herefordshire and it's the biggest preventable cause of ill health, disease and death in England.  It's also the single most important factor affecting health inequalities.

Stopping smoking is one of the top things a person can do to improve their health and wellbeing.


63% of Herefordshire's adults are overweight or obese.

23% of reception aged children and 35% of those in year 6 are overweight or obese.  The obesity rates are higher for children and adults in more disadvantaged communities.

Eating healthily and being physically active, can help people maintain a healthy weight, as well as reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and some types of cancer.

Physical inactivity

17.2% of adults in Herefordshire are physically inactive.

Across the UK, physical inactivity is responsible for 1 in 6 deaths and costs the economy approximately £7.4 billion a year.

Physical activity can help boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reduce the risk of stress, depression and dementia.

Mental health and wellbeing

At least 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year and half of those with lifetime mental health issues, will first experience symptoms by the age of 14, including stress, depression and anxiety.

It's estimated that more than 1 in 10 women can experience post-natal depression within a year of giving birth and 1 in 10 children have a mental health problem.

Oral health

In 2016/17, 30.5% of children in Herefordshire had decayed, missing or filled teeth, which is higher than the England average.

The introduction of a regular toothbrushing routine at an early age, can help set children up for a life of good dental care.

Sexual health

In 2016, there were just over 417,000 new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) diagnosed in England with chlamydia being the most commonly recorded.

Sexual health is an important part of an individual’s physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing, so it’s important to take care of it and to talk about sex and relationships with your loved ones.


Vaccination is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves and our children against ill health. They prevent up to 3 million deaths worldwide every year.

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