Green shoots of a healthier Britain

The green shoots of a healthier Britain were revealed this week – with almost half of adults claiming they are prepared to take on greater shared responsibility for their own health.

In a sway of New Year’s Eve style resolutions, a report suggests that 25 million adults accept their role in looking after their own health, signalling that we’ve reached a tipping point in accepting greater shared responsibility.

The latest Bothered Britain Report, commissioned by healthcare provider, Simplyhealth, reflects the attitudes of the nation.

Following weeks of debate around the proposed Government ‘shake up’ of public health provision and financing, concern about the future costs of managing health and illness appears to be fuelling the move, with 54% citing it as their main motivation for reassessing their lifestyle.

Despite these financial concerns, of the people currently claiming to fully understand the proposed changes to Government healthcare policy (35%), three quarters (75%) believe the ‘shake up’ will ultimately have a positive impact on the country in the long term. 

Established, independent health policy analyst and social commentator, Roy Lilley, says:
‘This report shows that people are starting to understand the role they need to play in managing their health, which can only be encouraging news for a Government that is busy reshaping the NHS around wellness and not sickness.

‘Years of public health campaigns have bombarded us with messages around nutrition, smoking, and alcohol and perhaps now, in light of the greater need to protect our health system, they are finally getting through.’

James Glover, from Simplyhealth, says: ‘It’s encouraging to learn that individuals and families are starting to make small lifestyle changes that essentially made a big impact on a person’s overall health and wellbeing. Our research has found that 71% of people are doing more exercise and 67% are eating more healthily. It’s great that individuals are taking these steps as prevention is much more effective than simply trying to cure.’

From a regional perspective, the north south divide appears to be alive and well, with the North East (60%), Northern Ireland (58%) and Scotland (58%) taking the top three spots when it comes to taking on more responsibility. This is echoed in the list of top cities pledging to take on a more active role in managing their health, with Newcastle (60%) and Edinburgh (60%) leading the way.

As well as individuals claiming to be ready to adopt healthier lifestyles, the report suggests we are continuing to become more health savvy, with the internet playing its role as both a research and information sharing channel.

Online self diagnosis is most popular among 16-34 year olds, with 29%, and the GP is the first port of call for 43% of those over 55 years.

In the overall list of people’s current priorities, individual health (64%) and the health of our families (62%) still lead the way, closely followed by career (23%).

Surprisingly, we put our appearance (16%) on the same level as our house (16%) and our reputation as a nation of animal lovers remains intact, with 12% of people putting the health of their pets above the health of their friends (9%). 

Roy Lilley concludes: ‘This research is something that government should build on with positive communication, as well as an infrastructure that encourages, rewards and motivates an already keen public to realise these good intentions.’

The Bothered Britain Report is available to the public via

Bothered Britain Week is a national health campaign which aims to discover what we are bothered about as a nation, and whether we really are bothered about our health and each other.

For the latest campaign updates, you can follow it on twitter@simplyhealthuk or go on Facebook and search ‘wecanbebothered’.

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