Pandemic drives UK prevention trends

60% have not had health check in last 12 months

Adam Saville
Pandemic drives UK prevention trends

Almost half more likely to take health check now than before Covid, Aviva research shows

While only 40% of Brits have had any type of health check in the past 12 months, 48% said they would now be more likely to have a health check than before the pandemic.

The findings, included as part of Aviva's The changing health landscape report, indicate that people in the UK are becoming increasingly concerned about - and interested in - preventing conditions related to respiratory health, mental health, diet and nutrition.

Today (8 December), Aviva has launched its Aviva DigiCare+ health and wellbeing app, provided by Square Health, which provides a range of additional benefits for individual protection plans, such as annual health checks, nutritional consultation and mental health support. A similar offering for group protection was rolled out earlier this year.

Read our CIExpert review of Aviva DigiCare+

Paul Brencher, managing director, individual protection, at Aviva said: "We give our cars an annual MOT, but do we do the same for our health and wellbeing? The traditional ‘wait and see' attitude to our health is becoming increasingly unpopular."

According to the report, mental health worries are the most prevalent, with 39% of people reporting increased awareness during the pandemic, a trend that can be seen across all age groups.

Almost a third (32%) said concerns have increased for both diet/nutritional health and respiratory health as a result of Covid, while nearly a third expressed concerns for their parents' health and one in five were worried about the health of their children.

Prevention tools

When asked about preventative tools, health apps, fitness trackers, wellbeing services and digital GPs were all popular, however an annual health check was rated most highly (69%) by the 2000-plus UK adults who were surveyed. Wellbeing (51%) and nutritional services (43%) also ranked favourably.

Young adults - aged 16-24 - were more likely than any other age groups to have had a health check in the last year (46%), the research revealed, suggesting the younger generation are taking a more proactive approach to prevention. Just over a third (34%) of those aged 45-54 had one in the last year.

Three quarters said they would use a health check to find out about their cholesterol levels, while 71% were interested in a pin-prick blood analysis (almost half would prefer to do it at home) - something preferred by those aged 35-44 (52%) compared to young adults (40%).

Healthy maintenance

Paul Brencher added: "In the past we've generally been content to restrict our interest in health and medical appointments to times when we felt significantly unwell. This appears to be changing, for example with most respondents welcoming the idea of having an annual health check. The younger age group seem to have already embraced this approach, indicating an awareness that waiting for something to go wrong isn't the most effective way to stay healthy. 

"With regular wellbeing and nutritional advice also scoring highly in our survey, we can see that looking after our health on a day-to-day basis is a key aspect in the way we'd choose to live our lives.  

"Of course, anyone can be unfortunate enough to contract a serious health condition, but our research shows that through Covid-19, perhaps we're starting to understand the benefits of maintaining a healthier lifestyle and taking a greater interest in preventing ill-health.  

"Keeping healthy can help prevent many conditions developing, for example diabetes, but it might also better prepare us to be able to better cope with any serious health issues that may arise in the future." 

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