The poor health and wellbeing of the UK is exposed!
6th August 2014
healthLet’s face it…many of us probably have at least some awareness of what it means to be healthy. Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, engage in regular exercise, do not smoke – or quit smoking if already doing so, limit alcohol intake to 2-3 units each day for women and 3-4 for men, and keep a healthy body mass index (BMI). But is the nation sticking to their health guidelines and are  all the numerous national health campaigns actually doing their job? Discovering these things was the aim of The National Health Report 2014 conducted by Benenden Health; a healthcare provider that work in tandem with the NHS, boasting almost a million members to its products. Benenden’s study involved 4,000 adults from around the UK, assessing the ‘emotional and physical wellbeing of the nation by delving into their lifestyle habits’, seeing how the public perceive health and wellbeing, as well as their opinions on the NHS. The analysis primarily utilised eight factors as indicators to judge just how well Brits are taking care of themselves. These eight health indicators were: sleep; portions of fruit and vegetables eaten; water consumption; cardio exercise per week; muscle workouts per week; alcohol consumed per week; cigarettes smoked per day and BMI. A comprehensive comparison of different areas was able to be reached, and determined the health of ‘Mr & Mrs Average’ in the UK. Unfortunately the average male and female Brit appear to be disregarding just about all health and wellbeing advice, guidelines, etc, and it seems we are a nation that are overweight, unfit, tired and dehydrated. To be ‘healthy’, adults are generally advised to be consuming five portions of fruit and veg every day, have a BMI that is somewhere in the range of 18 and 25, drink 1.6 - 2 litres of water each day and get 7 - 8 hours of sleep each night. This table demonstrates what we should be aiming for: health UK 2                 When it comes to the obvious ‘bad’ vices, smoking is clearly totally a no-no due to the absurd amount of toxic cancer-causing chemicals in cigarettes, whilst according to government guidelines, men should not be drinking over 21 units of alcohol each week and for women it is just 14. However, the following table shows that many of us are not taking any notice of what is good for our bodies and sticking to what is recommended for us: health UK                   It is apparent that we aren’t stupid and we’re fully aware we are unhealthy, we just don’t bother to rectify the situation. The thousands of people in the study were asked how healthy they believe the nation to be, and a staggering 71% replied ‘not very healthy’ or ‘not at all healthy’. Interestingly, only 29% provided negative answers when asked the same question about the state of the nation’s health 50 years previously. Speaking about the findings, medical director of Benenden Health, Dr John Giles, said: “At a time when modern medicine is making consistent major breakthroughs to give us longer lives and treat illnesses that even 20 years ago were fatal, the UK population appears to be doing everything in its power to make those extra years as unhealthy and miserable as possible. We cannot continually rely on the NHS to pick up the pieces of our below average approach to looking after ourselves: this laissez-faire approach is massively overburdening our country’s health service. An ageing population and advances in medical science, alongside the surge in complex chronic illnesses, mean the NHS as it was originally conceived is becoming increasingly threatened.”