Cohort profile: the health survey for England

Int J Epidemiol. 2012 Dec;41(6):1585-93. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyr199. Epub 2012 Jan 9.


To monitor the health of the public in England, UK, the Central Health Monitoring Unit within the UK Department of Health commissioned an annual health examination survey, which became known as the Health Survey for England (HSE). The first survey was completed in 1991. The HSE covers all of England and is a nationally representative sample of those residing at private residential addresses. Each survey year consists of a new sample of private residential addresses and people. The HSE collects detailed information on mental and physical health, health-related behaviour, and objective physical and biological measures in relation to demographic and socio-economic characteristics of people aged 16 years and over at private residential addresses. There are two parts to the HSE; an interviewer visit, to conduct an interview and measure height and weight, then a nurse visit, to carry out further measurements and take biological samples. Since 1994, survey participants aged 16 years and over have been asked for consent to follow-up through linkage to mortality and cancer registration data, and from 2003, to the Hospital Episode Statistics database, thus converting annual cross-sectional survey data into a longitudinal study. Annual survey data (1994-2009) are available through the UK Data Archive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Cohort Studies
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Surveys / methods
  • Health Surveys / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers