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UK health crisis a ‘ticking time-bomb’ for NHS: report

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Britain is in the grip of a perilous health crisis, with the average person failing to follow seven out of eight basic health guidelines, according to a new report.

The National Health Report 2014 by Benenden Health questioned 4,000 people across the UK about their health habits, concluding that “wilful neglect” of health guidelines is leading to a population that is overweight, overtired, unfit, poorly nourished and dehydrated – presenting a “ticking time-bomb” for the NHS.

The report finds that the average UK male eats 3.3 portions of his ‘5 a day’; has an ‘overweight class’ BMI of 26.2; only drinks 953ml of water a day; sleeps for 6.4 hours a night; does 73 minutes of cardio a week and 1.4 muscle strengthening workouts; smokes 3.8 cigarettes a day; and drinks 13.6 units of alcohol a week. Of these eight measures, only the level of alcohol consumption falls within recommended guidelines.

From an exercise perspective, many of the findings echo those from ukactive’s recent Turning the Tide of Inactivity report. There is evidence of a strong regional divide in terms of activity levels, with people in the south east of England far more likely to reach recommended exercise levels than other areas. The report found that despite recommendations to undertake muscle strengthening activities at least twice a week, barely one in 10 people in the UK (11 per cent) actually manage to do so, while 62 per cent of people in the south west region don’t do any muscle strengthening at all.

Those behind the report said the public is aware of what should be done to maintain good health, but chooses to ignore guidelines in the knowledge that the NHS is on hand to “pick up the pieces.”

“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,” said medical director of Benenden Health, Dr John Giles.

“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.”

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Britain is in the grip of a perilous health crisis, with the average person failing to follow seven out of eight basic health guidelines, according to a new report.
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