Wednesday 27 September 2023
Select a region
Media Release

Health questions form part of Jersey Annual Social Survey

MEDIA RELEASE: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not Bailiwick Express, and the text is reproduced exactly as supplied to us

The Public Health Department has developed a number of health-related questions some of which formed part of this year’s Jersey Annual Social Survey.

The Public Health Department has developed a number of health-related questions some of which formed part of this year’s Jersey Annual Social Survey. 

The following topics were covered in the 2013 survey:

Perceived health status

83% of islanders rate their health as good or better

Most European countries run surveys that ask respondents to report on “How is your health in general?” Despite the subjective nature of the question, it has been found to be a good indicator of people’s future healthcare use and mortality.

The response has remained reasonably consistent over recent years in Jersey, ranging from 83% to 87%. This puts Jersey at the top end of the countries reported by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) where responses ranged from 90% of the adult population in the USA to 30% of adults in Japan rating their health as good or better in 2010 (latest data)

Risk factors and lifestyle


The rise in obesity is a concern worldwide. Obesity is a known risk factor for numerous health problems, including hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems, musculoskeletal diseases (arthritis) and some cancers.

Research suggests that actual population obesity rates will be higher than those estimated from self-reported surveys.

According to the 2013 JASS 1 in 6 (16%) of Jersey adults are obese. This is lower than the UK rate, where 1 in 4 are obese (25%) and similar to the latest OECD average(2010) which shows 17% of the adult populations reported on were obese, ranging from 4% in Japan & Korea to over 30% in the United States.

Although obesity has long been known to be a risk factor for heart disease, waist size provides a far more accurate way to predict a person’s chances of dying at an early age from a heart attack or other causes. A thick waist is a well-known sign of a build-up of visceral fat, a dangerous type of fat around the internal organs that is strongly linked with type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Waist measures indicate that 17% of the local population are likely to be at very high risk of heart disease. This has changed very little over the past few years (15-17% previously).

Local data also indicates that premature deaths from heart disease are lower than the English regions, which implies that a lot of these problems are being picked up and treated.

A number of behavioural and environmental factors have contributed to the rise in overweight and obesity rates worldwide, including changing diets (such as more people eating fast food) and less time spent being physically active.

Physical activity

51% of adults meet recommended physical activity levels of five sessions of 30 minutes moderate activity a week. This is higher than activity levels reported in the UK. 8% of adults undertake no moderate physical activity (7-11% of adults in previous surveys were in this category). 

Healthy diet

Over one third (36%) of adults eat recommended levels of fruit and vegetables. This has changed very little over the past few years and is similar to UK figures.

18% of adults report eating convenience foods or takeaways a few times a week or more often.


Tobacco is responsible for 1 in 10 deaths worldwide. It is a major risk factor for at least two of the leading causes of premature death – circulatory disease and cancer. Smoking is a contributory factor for respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), while smoking in pregnant women is one of the main risk factors for low birth-weight babies and illness among infants. It remains the largest avoidable risk to health in most countries worldwide.

22% of Jersey adults smoke (daily and occasional smokers), which is similar to smoking rates reported in the UK. There was a decrease in smoking prevalence between 2005 and 2007 but little change since.  The amount daily smokers are smoking has decreased from an average of 19 cigarettes a day in 2005 to 15 cigarettes a day in 2010.

16% of adults smoke daily. The proportion of daily smokers (15-16 % in 2008-2010) is less than the average of 22% reported by the OECD in 2009.


Around 80% would support a law to stop smoking in cars with children – including 66% of daily smokers.

There is high support for smoke-free playgrounds, and least support for smoke-free beaches. Most support for smoke-free areas comes from non-smokers.

The JASS findings are similar to those emerging from preliminary analysis of the public consultation into second-hand smoke, which took place in Jersey in August to October 2013.  A full report will be available in the New Year.

Long-standing illness and disability

25% of the adult population report having a long-standing illness or disability that has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months.

This is more prevalent in the older population with half of those aged 65+ reporting a long-standing health problem.

Of these adults 20% said it limited their daily activities considerably. This means approximately 5% of the adult population have a long-standing health problem that limits their daily activities (long-term limiting illness). This proportion is similar to previous surveys.

10% of respondents reported that other members of the household had long-standing conditions that affected their daily activities. Most of these problems were due to physical impairments, mental health issues or deafness.

Dr Susan Turnbull, Medical Officer of Health said: “While I am pleased to see that Jersey compares favourably on many of the known lifestyle risk factors, this is not a cause for complacency. In some of these areas there has been little improvement over the years while in others, like obesity, our Island’s numbers are increasing, as they are everywhere else in the world.”

Sign up to newsletter


You have landed on the Bailiwick Express website, however it appears you are based in . Would you like to stay on the site, or visit the site?