Press release

State of the nation’s health revealed in landmark report from PHE

Public Health England (PHE) has published a milestone report on the health of the population in England.

The ‘Health Profile for England’ report is the first time PHE has used its wealth of population health data to give an overall picture of the health of England.

People are living longer than ever – life expectancy in England has now reached 79.5 years for males and 83.1 years for females. However, much of the extra time is spent in poor health.

A major theme of the ‘Health Profile for England’ report is health inequalities; we are simultaneously publishing a focused report examining health inequalities between different population groups. In the richest areas, people enjoy nearly 20 more years in good health than people in the poorest areas.

The ‘Health Profile for England’ report covers life expectancy, major causes of death, morbidity trends, European comparisons, inequality in health, social determinants of health and current health protection issues.

Some of the report’s more notable findings include:

  • life expectancy has increased more than years in good health and therefore the number of years lived in poor health has also increased
  • diabetes makes the top 10 causes of ill-health and disability (morbidity) for the first time
  • the 2 biggest risk factors behind levels of ill health are excess weight and high blood sugar
  • lower back and neck pain are the biggest causes of ill health
  • while deaths from heart disease and stroke have halved since 2001, it’s still the biggest killer of men
  • the biggest killers for women are Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

‘Health Profile for England’ has been created with policymakers, both national and local, in mind. PHE wants them to use the report as a shared reference point and to think about the broader impact of their policies on health. The report also allows local policymakers to see how they compare with the national picture.

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of PHE said:

Good public health is not defined by health policy alone. Our health profiles show a high-quality education, a well-designed and warm home, a good job and a community to belong to are just as important.

The more we consider the impact of all policies on population health, the sooner we can focus on preventing poor health instead of only dealing with its consequences, especially for those from the most deprived communities.


  1. Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. Follow us on Twitter: @PHE_uk and Facebook:
  2. The ‘Health Profile for England’ and ‘Public Health Outcomes Framework: Health Equity Report, Focus on ethnicity’ are available on PHE’s website.
  3. The ‘Health Profile for England’ report’s 7 chapters are: * life expectancy and healthy life expectancy
    * major causes of death and how they have changed * trends in morbidity and behavioural risk factors * European comparisons * inequality in health * social determinants of health * current and emerging health protection issues
  4. The ‘Public Health Outcomes Framework: Health Equity Report, Focus on ethnicity’ was also published today. It provides analysis and commentary on how different ethnicities compare on 18 indicators and determinants of health.
  5. The indicators have been chosen by PHE’s Health Equity Board, to help it monitor how PHE performs against its duty to reduce health inequalities and ensure it considers the needs of all individuals in day to day work in shaping policy and delivering services.


Published 13 July 2017