Useful links

Healthy Living and Lifestyles

Welcome to the Healthy Living and Lifestyles section of Cumbria's Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) 2015 onwards.

The latest JSNA Healthy Living and Lifestyle chapter can be accessed via the link below:

JSNA: Healthy Living & Lifestyles Chapter

Key issues and recommendations

As summarised in the above chapter:

Key issues

Alcohol misuse

  • Based on the Acorn type profile of Cumbria’s residents, the county has slightly greater estimated proportions of women who consume more than 3 units of alcohol per day (Cumbria 30.1% vs. UK 28.8%) and men who consume more than 4 units of alcohol per day (Cumbria 42.4% vs. UK 41.4%).

  • The directly standardised rate per 100,000 population for alcohol related hospital admissions in people aged 18+ in Cumbria between 2008/09 and 2012/113 is consistently significantly higher than England.

  • The rates for Allerdale, Barrow-In-Furness and Copeland have been consistently above the national average during this time. In Allerdale the rate of alcohol specific mortality in females of 12.9 per 100,000 was significantly worse than England at 7.5 per 100,000.

Substance misuse

  • Throughout 2014-15 there were 3,118 service users in contact with Unity (the provider of statutory drug and alcohol services in the county). Most service users (57.7%) use the service for drugs related issues; 42.3% use the service for alcohol related issues. Heroin is the main drug of services users across all districts.

  • 6000 people have registered for needle exchange with the majority of users reporting performance enhancers as their main drug.

  • Drug crime has fallen marginally across the county. Throughout 2013-14 there were 1,529 drug offences in Cumbria, 0.1% decrease from the previous year.


  • In 2011/13 an estimated 296.5 deaths in Cumbria were attributable to smoking per 100,000 population (aged 35+); this was similar to the national average of 288.7 per 100,000 population. However, the county average masks variation between districts; with Allerdale, Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle and Copeland all having significantly worse rates than the national average, while Eden and South Lakeland’s rates were better than the national average.

  • There were 2,063 smoking attributable hospital admissions in people aged 35 and over per 100,000 population in 2011/13; this was significantly worse than the national rate of 1,645 per 100,000 population. Furthermore, all of Cumbria’s districts except Eden had worse rates than the national average.

  • Smoking prevalence in Cumbria at 18.1% is similar to national figures

  • 13.8% of pregnant women in Cumbria were smoking at the time of delivery; this is significantly worse than the national average of 12%.

  • There is little understanding of e-cigarette use in Cumbria.

Healthy Weight and Healthy Eating

  • The Active People Survey in 2012 recorded adult excess weight and in Cumbria 68.3% of the population is estimated to be overweight and this is significantly higher than England which is 63.8%. In the survey Copeland district reported the highest proportion of adults overweight in the country at 75.9%. The districts Carlisle and Eden also have a proportion overweight greater than England, 68.4% and 68.8%.

  • The obesity prevalence in adults (BMI over 30) ranges from 1.41% and 18.58% in Cumbria CCG practices compared to 9.84% across England.

Physical Activity

  • Although the percentage of adults (16+) who report undertaking 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity for Cumbria is higher at 56.3% than the national average (55.6%), some of the districts e.g. Barrow-in-Furness (52.3%) and Carlisle (50.4%) are significantly below the national average.

  • The percentage of adults who are inactive is higher in Barrow-in-Furness (36.1%) and Carlisle (35.1%), in comparison the figure for Cumbria (31.1%).

  • There is currently no up to date robust data available at a local level which details physical activity participation levels in children and young people.

Sexual Health

  • STI testing rates have been well below the national average between 2012 – 2014. Testing rates are increasing in all districts despite this they remain below England levels.

  • Recent increases in rates of both syphilis and gonorrhoea is predominantly in homosexual men aged 25-34 years, similar to the national picture.

  • Public Health England recommends that local authorities should be working towards achieving a chlamydia detection rate of at least 2,300 per 100,000 population. Cumbria currently has a detection rate of 1,707 per 100,000 aged 15-24 years. All districts except Carlisle have a detection rate below 2,300 per 100,000.

  • 51.5% of adults presenting with HIV do so at a late stage in Cumbria compared to 48.3% in England. HIV testing uptake is below national rates, with 68.2% uptake in Cumbria compared to 77.5% in England.

  • There are not currently free condoms available to patients via GP practices unless provided by the practice themselves.

Recommendations for consideration for commissioners

Although each lifestyle factor has been addressed in separate section the vulnerable groups often overlap and the behaviours are not to be viewed in isolation.  It is recommended commissioners consider all aspects included in this summary when considering healthy living and lifestyle.

Evidence and research

Evidence and research information including briefings and other publications supporting the Healthy Living and Lifestyles theme of the JSNA is available via the links below:

Further information

For further information relating to the Healthy Living and Lifestyles theme of the JSNA please contact:

Emma Graham
Information & Intelligence Manager
Information & Intelligence – Performance and Risk Unit
Cumbria County Council
Tel: 07880 014854