Excess weight and risk factors
Certain lifestyle behaviours can increase the risk of a number of health conditions, but unlike factors such as age and sex, individuals can take action to alter these behaviours. For instance, healthy diet and regular exercise can prevent the onset of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Conversely, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are risk factors for obesity.
In the 2007-08 NHS, people were asked to report whether or not they smoked, their usual alcohol, fruit and vegetable consumption, the amount of exercise they do, and the fat content of the milk they usually drink. As data was self-reported, people may have provided responses that were perceived to be more socially desirable, such as understating the amount of alcohol they consumed.