The proportion of people binge drinking has reduced. This is in all age groups, except those aged 65 years and over, with the greatest reductions seen in the 16 to 24 age group. Adults living in affluent areas consume more alcohol. The 2011 General Lifestyle Survey Households on higher incomes are more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last week and to have done so on five or more days. However, adverse effects of alcohol disproportionally affect those living in areas with higher deprivation, with people living in the most deprived areas are around two and a half times more likely to be admitted for an alcohol-related condition or die from an alcohol-related cause than those in the least deprived areas. The use of new psychoactive substance (formerly known as ‘legal highs’) is increasing. These are defined by the UK government as ‘a narcotic or psychotropic substance newly available in the UK [and mostly but not exclusively synthetic] which may pose a public health threat comparable to drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.’

Over a third of the population are estimated to have one long-term condition (36.68%), around a seventh are likely to have two or more conditions (14.37%), and around one in 170 people are likely to have five or more long-term conditions. This reveals that with increasing age some individuals may have increasing comorbidities, which will impact on emergency admissions. The peak age for multi-morbidity is 85 to 89, which highlights that those surviving into their nineties and beyond are likely to have fewer long-term conditions. When deprivation is considered a different pattern emerges. Individuals living in the most deprived areas are typically around 10 to 15 years ahead in terms of the state of their health and this is even wider for certain age groups. The JSNA (2015) describes the health related risk factors in detail.

Four health-related risk factors in adulthood and their profile and trend

Four health-related risk factors in adulthood and their profile and trend
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Source: Devon, Plymouth and Torbay Long-Term Conditions Health Needs Assessment, 2015