The survey shows that people in the lowest income households continue to experience much worse outcomes across key health measures than people in the highest income households.
Men and women in the lowest income bracket are three times more likely than those in the highest income bracket to have kidney disease and to smoke. The disparity in health between England's richest and poorest is particularly marked amongst women, with those in the lowest income bracket four times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes and twice as likely to be obese than women in the highest income bracket.
Vasant Hirani, Senior Research Fellow in UCL's Department of Epidemiology and Public Health said: "This important survey provides an annual health check for the nation, and shows that there are still marked inequalities in health between different socio-economic groups. There is a clear social gradient, with people with lower incomes much more likely to experience poor health than those that are more affluent. We need to reduce inequalities and improve health outcomes for some of the most vulnerable groups in our society – a real challenge in the current economic climate."
Rachel Craig, Research Director at the National Centre for Social Research added: "The Health Survey for England gives us an excellent picture of how health changes over time, allowing us to accurately monitor the problem areas of health inequality in Britain today. As the coalition takes a new approach to public health during a time of high satisfaction levels in the NHS it will be vital to monitor how outcomes develop. In particular, it will be interesting to see how successful the government plans are to 'nudge' people towards making healthy lifestyle choices."
MEDICA.de; Source: University College London