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Health and its determinants in Wales (2018)

The Health and its determinants in Wales report provides an overview of the health and well-being of the population of Wales, including the burden of disease.  It outlines the main causes of death, disability and illness which make up the picture of health in Wales. It demonstrates the gains made but it also highlights the significant challenges faced both now and in the future.

Key Messages

What is Health and its determinants in Wales? 


The report provides high level information and illustrative examples covering broad themes. It uses burden of disease estimates from the Global Burden of Disease report (2016) as a common currency for health and risk factors to assist with consideration of relative priorities.

Past smoking is still the risk factor which contributes most to the current burden of disease in Wales. Other key findings include that cancer now exceeds cardiovascular disease as the greatest causes of disease burden in Wales, and that musculoskeletal disorders and mental and substance use disorders are the main causes of years lived with disability.

The report also provides information on wider determinants of health with a particular focus on children. It includes international comparisons, focusing on what those countries with the best outcomes achieve, and provides both past and projected future trends.

Dr Kirsty Little, Consultant in Health Intelligence, said ‘We know that Wales has an ageing population which is expected to result in an increasing number of age-related conditions, and that we are not making the strides we would hope for in reducing inequalities. The report highlights these issues and explores the risk factors, prevalence and projected prevalence of some of the health issues we face here in Wales. While the report has been developed to support the Public Health Wales’ long term strategy, and we released an interim version to help colleagues across the NHS, we are now publically releasing an updated version which we hope will be a valuable tool for other public bodies who are currently developing similar long-term strategies and plans across Wales’.

2023 Prevalence of disease

In 2023, we have embarked on a new programme of work which explores disease trends, 10-year disease projections, risk factor trends, evidence-based interventions across the full range of public health responses and the impact of these on costs to the health system.  The diabetes output can be found here.


Access The Data

The data used in the report is available in this data spreadsheet (.xls) and the technical guide (.pdf) contains more detail about the data sources used.

Get in touch 

For further information on the Health and its determinants in Wales report, or if you would like to provide feedback, then you can get in touch by emailing us at