05/03/2013 06:43 GMT | Updated 05/03/2013 07:50 GMT

UK Health: Nine Lifestyle Choices Killing Brits Early (PICTURES)

Britain is worse at preventing premature deaths and ill health than many of its European counterparts, a report has shown.

In 1990 the UK ranked 10th in a league table of 19 countries showing years of life lost (YLL) per 100,000 members of the population.

Twenty years later and Britain has slipped to 14th in the table, behind Romania and internationally, Mexico and Thailand, despite one of the best health services in the world.

Co-author Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at the new Government agency Public Health England (PHE), said the report was a "wake up call" for the UK.

He added: "The reality is that nearly all of these conditions are either preventable or amenable to early intervention, providing opportunities to make a substantial difference in people's lives, and reduce the tremendous psycho-social and economic burden of poor health on our society.

"Ultimately, in order to really make a difference in improving our nation's health, concerted action will be required, with individuals, families, local communities, local councils, the NHS and government all taking responsibility and working together towards a healthier population."

What are the leading causes of ill health in the UK and what can you do about them?