Stress undermines the health of the nation
by Gill Montia
Story link: Stress undermines the health of the nation
Stressed Britons trying to cope with the recession are cutting down on exercise and healthy foods; so finds PruHealth in its bi-annual Vitality Index.
The insurer has revealed that the health of the nation has declined by two points since July 2008, to a rating of 59%.
Eighteen percent of people responding to the PruHealth survey admitted they live unhealthy lifestyles, 4% more than six month ago.
During the same period, the percentage of respondents admitting to being under a significant amount of stress increased from 38% to 40%.
Half of those surveyed agreed that stress is affecting their personal lives and 41% revealed that money worries were at the root of the condition, while 22% blamed an increased workload.
Redundancy worries also emerged as a significant contributing factor.
According to the Vitality Index, those in poor health have seen the most significant rise in their stress levels, up from 56% to 64%; for those blessed with good health the increase registered at only 2%.
Turning to diet, 47% of respondents said they struggled to eat the recommended quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables; 24% manage to eat their five portions on a daily basis and 21% only managed the intake once a week or less
Commenting on the findings, Dr David Grainger, a senior fellow of the University of Cambridge, says: “In just six months there has been a marked widening of the ‘health gap’ as lifestyle improvements evaporate. Replicated across the entire adult population of the UK, these findings suggest a staggering two million more people have an unhealthy lifestyle than six months ago. The most likely cause? Economic recession.”
PruHealth is involved in a number of schemes to promote healthy lifestyles for policyholders, most recently teaming up with eBay to offer points on its Vitality reward scheme for purchases of sporting equipment.