Brits fret about health when they hit 39

39 is the age Brits really start to worry about their health, according to new calculations* by the insurer that rewards people for engaging in healthy behaviour.

With 30something peers such as fitness-fanatic Gwyneth Paltrow (38 years) and channel-swimming David Walliams (39 years) showing vitality and achieving their health goals, perhaps it’s understandable the average Brit is feeling the heat as they approach the big 4-0.

However it seems Brits are all woe and not enough go.

Whiet one in ten (11%) constantly worry about their health and a further 40%** worry that they are not healthy enough, they are not doing much to improve it.

One in five (20 per cent) people admit laziness and time pressures are the main barriers to living healthily. For a further 15%, it’s simply their love of unhealthy foods that gets in the way.

Given the power of hindsight and their chance again, the survey asked respondents over the age of 25 what advice they would give their younger selves.

The top five tips were:
• Don’t smoke (19%)
• Look after your body (15%)
• Do more exercise (14%)
• Think about the consequences of your actions (11%)
• Eat more healthily (10%).

Only 10% would advise a ‘live for the moment’ approach and tell their younger selves to enjoy the present and not worry about the future.

However despite good intentions, the unfortunate reality is it takes the diagnosis of a serious illness to encourage four in five (80%) Brits to improve their health, and over half (51%) if it were a close friend or family member***.

Dr Katherine Tryon, at PruHealth, said: ‘People lead busy lives, but there is a big task ahead in the UK to encourage people to make health changes now rather than later – prevention rather than cure. We need to stop worrying about our health and start doing something to look after ourselves. If approaching the big 4-0 is the kick-start thirty-somethings need, then that can only be a good thing.

‘Encouragingly, over half the respondents (54%) said that the offer of health incentives and health rewards are likely to change their behaviour and help them lead a healthy life.

‘At PruHealth our key focus is to help remove barriers to health living and incentivise healthy activities via our Vitality scheme.’

PruHealth was launched into the UK market in October 2004 as a joint venture between Discovery and UK insurer, Prudential, in response to a growing need for consumer-directed private medical insurance products.

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