Information by Design
Lifestyle Survey Toolkit

1. Government sources

There is a considerable amount of information at the national level on the ONS website:

For example, data at the national level is available on Sport and Physical Activity:

A very useful source for national data on 'Lifestyle' and its changes over time is Social Trends (e.g. Social Trends 2004):

Social trends is an established reference source, and draws together social and economic data from a wide range of government departments and other organisations; it paints a broad picture of British society today, and how it has been changing.

The 2004 edition includes sections on Health and Lifestyle including:

Health - Key Indicators

  • Infection diseases
  • Diet and related health
  • Alcohol, drugs and smoking
  • Cancer
  • Mental health
  • Sexual health

Lifestyle and Social Participation

  • Everyday tasks
  • Leisure activities
  • e-Society and communication
  • Holidays and tourism
  • Sporting activities
  • Social participation
  • Religion
Another very useful source is the UK 2000 Time Use Survey:

This research was conducted on behalf of a consortium consisting of; the Economic and Social Research Council; the Department of Culture, Media and Sport; the Department for Education and Skills; the Department of Health; the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions; and the Office for National Statistics

The main aim of the survey is to measure the amount of time spend by the UK population on various activities.  The UK 2000 Time Use Survey was the first time that a major survey of this type has been conducted in the UK

The Department of Health now groups the outputs from a number of surveys it commissions under the 'Lifestyle Surveys' umbrella:

2. Consumer Lifestyle Survey Data

Consumer lifestyle data is collected and made available commercially by a number of data agencies.  These often have a focus of providing data to the Direct Marketing industry.

Consumer lifestyle data is collected using large scale self-completion surveys, often to around several million households in the UK.  With response rates of around 10-20%, these databases can be comprehensive in terms of coverage, but potentially having a biased response to the surveys.  Also remember that the data is collected largely for marketing purposes and targeting consumers - the questions in the survey are clearly influenced by this.

Using this source, a number of options are available:

  • To buy local data for specific relevant questions from the databases.
  • To sponsor specific questions in future data collection surveys
An example of a provider of Lifestyle data is Consumer Data, owned by Wegener Direct, one of the UK's largest suppliers to the DM industry.

They have a database now in the UK of over 20 millions individuals and over 200 variables and 4000 characteristics per customer record for selection