Simplyhealth has teamed up with YouGov to launch a new quarterly report to track the ‘broadest picture yet' of UK health and wellbeing.
The Simplyhealth/YouGov Everyday Health Tracker will survey 2,000 people and ask them 26 questions about health, ranging from diet and exercise habits to concerns about future health, and including health and wellbeing in the workplace.
A subset of the data is being used to create the Everyday Health Index - the first regular measure of the nation's health.
The Tracker is intended to provide a regular reference point for stakeholders across the healthcare industry, as demographic change and new treatments and technologies take us into a new era of healthcare provision.
Results from the first survey include:
• The prospect of having debilitating health conditions like arthritis, joint pain and back pain worries people just as much as stroke, cancer and heart disease.
• Some 14% of people said they have little or no responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. Meanwhile 28% of people thought food and beverages companies are responsible, a considerably higher figure than the 9% who feel their employer has some responsibility for their health.
• Less than half of employees receive any health and wellbeing support at work. The Tracker shows that 44% receive some kind of health and wellbeing support from their employer. Of those who receive support, 18% say they would like their employer to do more; of those who receive no support, 22% would like more.
• Employers valuing importance of mental health. 21% of people say their employer provides workplace counselling, which is the second most popular benefit behind cycle to work schemes at 25%.
•. The Tracker's BMI data shows that a third of women and a fifth of men are obese. Obesity is highest among people aged 40-54; but asked to rate their own health, those aged 45+ underestimate their potential health problems the most.
• NHS guidelines on diet and exercise not having enough effect. While 87% of people know they should eat ‘5 a day', just 29% do so. Only 17% of people take the recommended level of aerobic exercise and 12% the recommended amount of muscle strengthening exercise.
• Women are more concerned about all health problems. Weight, arthritis/joint pain and stress/anxiety top their list of future health worries. But weight concerns do not translate into action, with a third of women taking less than one 30 minute exercise session a month compared to a quarter of men.
• Fitness technology: low takeup but huge potential to improve health. Just 5% of people used fitness apps regularly in the last 3 months and only 4% a fitness tracker. But walking outdoors and exercising at home are the two most popular forms of exercise, for which apps and trackers are ideal motivational aids.
• Index shows regional differences: London and the South are the healthiest regions, Wales the least healthy according to the Index. Women are slightly healthier than men.
Romana Abdin, chief executive of Simplyhealth, said:"We've launched this Tracker with YouGov to help inform the debate on the future of UK healthcare. Changing demographics, increasing obesity and new technologies and treatments are demanding a new approach to healthcare delivery. To make the best decisions, our healthcare sector needs the best information.
"The Tracker shows that when thinking about their future health, people worry just as much about everyday conditions like joint and back pain as life-threatening illnesses. As our population ages, we need to have an honest discussion about how - or if - the NHS can meet the increasing demand for everyday health treatments."