Well known insurer Aviva has recently launched its inaugural ‘Health Check UK’ report. Based on a survey of 2,000 people from across the UK, Aviva’s aim was to document trends in exercise, diet, illness and general wellbeing
Among the detailed findings of the report it highlights the links between poor physical and mental health. With the pressures of modern life heightening because of financial stress, the importance of fitting to an aesthetic ideal and building a career, it’s not surprising that we often lack active lifestyles and healthy eating.
Research shows that for some, the pressures of work and finance worries play a huge part in how they feel, with 38% of people admitting to suffering from stress in the last year. It’s not just the older age groups who suffer from stress, anxiety and depression; 18 – 24 year olds have felt the recent challenges with work and their finances, with nearly half saying that they’ve experienced some form of mental health concern.
Individuals may not know where to go to seek advice and so end up bottling up their worries and feelings, resulting in them being under greater pressure. Likewise employees may end up taking more time off work than necessary or under-performing whilst at work, resulting in increased absenteeism for the employer. This can have a knock on impact on others in the workplace, causing wider issues if no action is taken. Dr Doug Wright, Aviva UK Health’s Medical Director says: “When it comes to our health, the UK is a nation full of good intentions, but the pressures of modern life means that our plans and hopes for leading a healthy life often fall by the wayside. Most people know they should be doing more about it, but despite recognising this, the nation is falling woefully short of hitting the Government’s five-a-day target and recommended exercise levels.
“We are also struggling with mental health problems, particularly stress and anxiety, with no age group escaping the pressures of modern day living.
“So what can we do? By reducing the number of people who are obese and overweight in the UK it would in turn help to reduce the risks of many illnesses related to weight, helping to improve our happiness and enhance the general wellbeing of our nation.”
While undoubtedly well intentioned and correct, we can’t help but feel that Aviva are telling us what we already know. As Cathy Luzmore at Life Insurance Help states “I’m sure there isn’t a person of working age in the UK who knows that we should all eat healthier and take more exercise, however week after week we still arrange life insurance for obese people. Of course people need help in living a healthy lifestyle, but they equally need help in insuring their family, homes are protected should the worst happen. That’s exactly where a company like ours comes in. We don’t judge, nor preach – just help”!
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