Nine out of ten adults are putting their lives at risk through at least one bad lifestyle choice, an NHS report has found.
The unhealthy behaviours include drinking too much, smoking, not eating enough fruit and vegetables and not taking enough exercise.
Half of the population have two or more bad habits, the Health Survey for England showed – increasing their chances of diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
The annual snapshot of our health and well-being found record numbers of women are morbidly obese, with one in 20 having a BMI over 40. The figure stood at one in 100 in 1994. Men are less likely to be severely obese – one in 50 – but are still more likely to be overweight.
For the first time, the survey compared the lifestyles of children with their parents, and found those with obese mothers or fathers are three times as likely to be obese themselves.
Experts warned the findings showed the bad habits of the nation are storing up a timebomb of health conditions.
Diabetes is already spiralling, with the number of diagnoses more than doubling since 1994, from 3 per cent to 8 per cent among men and 2 per cent to 5 per cent among women.
The sharpest rise is among the retired, with cases tripling from five to 15 per cent.
But doctors fear the true figure is higher, with blood sugar levels collected by nurses suggesting up to a fifth of adults with diabetes are undiagnosed.
Almost two-thirds of adults (64 per cent) are overweight or obese, the NHS figures show.
Only 29 per cent of adults were found to eat five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day, falling to 18 per cent in under-15s.
Men were found to be drinking an average of 15 units a week – one above the recommended level – whereas women consumed an average of 8.6 units.
Around a fifth of adults had three or more unhealthy traits, while 1 per cent had all five highlighted risk factors – smoking, drinking, lack of exercise, not eating your five-a-day and being obese.
Men were generally less healthy with 54 per cent having two or more risk factors, compared with 47 per cent of women. Those in the lowest income households were twice as likely as those in highest income households to have three or more risk factors.
The survey of 8,000 adults and 2,000 children found 28 per cent of children with an obese mother and 24 per cent with an obese father were also obese. This compared with 8 per cent of children whose mother was a healthy weight and 9 per cent of those whose fathers were not overweight or obese.
Caroline Cerny, of the Obesity Health Alliance, said the link showed the importance of setting a good example.
She added: ‘Children are growing up bombarded by promotions for unhealthy food and drinks. Without urgent action, we will continue to see obesity perpetuate from each generation to the next.’
Susannah Brown, of the World Cancer Research Fund, said: ‘It is worrying to see over half of adults have two or more of these risk factors, especially as we know that around 40 per cent of cancer cases are preventable.’
Victoria Taylor, of the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘Bold action must be taken, like adopting a range of measures to support people to eat more healthily such as reformulation of foods high in fat, salt and sugar.’