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30 Apr 2021

What a year it has been. The matter of a pandemic has changed all of our lives. With more time at home, gyms closed and our routines out of sync, it has been challenging for many of us to stay on top of the routines that keep us healthy.

 

We were keen to find out how healthy the Great British public feels and other key information about our overall well being. We polled 1,000 people and pulled together some key health stats to answer the question, “How healthy are we?”

 

The Short Version

 

If you’d like the quick version, here are the key findings:

  • 8.3% of the population claims to feel “very unhealthy” scoring themselves a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is “very unhealthy”
  • Over a quarter of people in the UK claim they now feel less healthy than they did before the Covid pandemic
  • An estimated 14.2 million people in England suffer from 2 or more health conditions
  • 4.7 million people in England suffer from 4 or more health conditions

 

How Healthy do we Feel?

So let’s put aside the numbers of people suffering with chronic conditions for the moment. We believe that a really important thing is how healthy we feel. So we asked 1,000 people in the UK in April 2021 (using Google Surveys) to rate how healthy they feel on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being “very unhealthy” and 10 being “very healthy”).

 

  • The single most popular answer was 6 - somewhere in the middle
  • 8.3% of the UK opted for 1, stating they feel “very unhealthy”
  • 14.1% claim to feel “very healthy” (scoring themselves a 10/10 on the scale)
  • The majority of people chose scores from 6 to 10, suggesting most of us feel at least reasonably healthy
  • 28.3% of the population scored themselves 5 or under

Has Covid 19 Affected our Perception of our Health?

 

We also asked 1,000 people about how they feel their health has been impacted by Covid 19. We asked:

“Do you feel more or less healthy now than you did before the Covid pandemic?”

 

They told us:

 

  • More than half of people in the UK feel their health has not been affected by the pandemic
  • 15.4% feel more healthy now than they did before
  • But over a quarter of people in the UK (26.1%) feel less healthy now than they did before the pandemic 

 

Are We a Healthy Nation According to the Statistics?

A 2020 study found that Britain has the worst healthy life expectancy in Europe. It’s widely known that we have high incidences of lifestyle related health conditions.

A 2018 study took a large sample of 300,000 people in England and, based on a list of 36 health conditions (below) looked at how many of them suffered multiple conditions.


 

The list of conditions analysed was as follows:


 

  • Alcohol problems
  • Other psychoactive substance misuse
  • Anorexia or bulimia
  • Asthma
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Blindness and low vision
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease
  • COPD
  • Constipation
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Dementia
  • Depression, anxiety and other neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Diverticulitis
  • Epilepsy
  • Hearing loss
  • Heart failure
  • Hypertension
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Learning disability
  • Migraine
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • New diagnosis of cancer (within last 5 years)
  • Painful condition (on prescription online pain medication)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Prostate disorders
  • Psoriasis or eczema
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory polyarthropathies and systematic connective tissue disorders
  • Schizophrenia (and related non-organic psychosis) or bipolar disorder
  • Stroke and transient ischaemic attack
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Viral hepatitis

They found:

  • 1 in 4 people have 2 or more of the above conditions (equating to a estimated 14.2 million people)
  • 1 in 12 have 4 or more of them (equating to an estimated 4.7 million people)

 

Prescription Spending to the NHS on Treating Common Conditions

 

We analysed NHS spending on prescription medication (prescriptions issued in the community at the likes of walk in centres and GP clinics) over the course of the 12 months ending Feb 2021 and this is what we found:

 

Drugs Used in the Treatment Of...

NHS England Spend on Prescribing Such Drugs in the 12 Months Ending February 2021

Diabetes

£                                     1,114,588,964.00 

Hypertension and Heart Failure

£                                         214,047,863.00 

Substance Dependence

£                                           32,235,989.00 

Obesity

£                                             7,902,316.00 

Mania and hypomania

£                                             9,731,041.00 

Psychoses and related disorders

£                                         107,424,085.00 


 

  • Spending by NHS England on prescriptions for drugs used in treating diabetes exceeded £1 billion
  • More than £200 million was spent on drugs used in treating hypertension and heart failure

 

Obesity in the UK

The 2019 Health Survey for England estimated that:


 

  • 28% of adults in England are obese
  • An additional 36.2% are overweight (but not obese)

In other words, over half of England’s adult population is overweight or obese, which in turn leads to an increased risk of a number of health conditions.

 

Statistics show just how many people take to search engines for help. Using kwfinder.com, we looked at how many people searched for online weight loss help in Google UK over the past 5 years (looking at the peak month of January).

 

Keyword

Searches Google UK January 2017

Searches Google UK January 2018

Searches Google UK January 2019

Searches Google UK January 2020

Searches Google UK January 2020

How to lose weight fast

90500

60500

90500

74000

1650000

Weight loss medication

880

880

1000

1300

1900

Appetite suppressant

12100

14800

14800

14800

18100

 

It’s possible, of course, that more people over 2020 and 2021 began looking for help as it was highly publicised that obesity was also a risk factor for more serious incidences of Covid-19.

 

Home Health Monitoring Trends in the UK

As a nation, we increasingly have access to tools and services to help is monitor our health in ways that previously might only have been possible in a specialist healthcare settings.

 

It’s really easy for us to monitor our activity levels, heart rate, blood pressure and other metrics at home. Home blood testing services also now make it really feasible to monitor key biomarkers.

 

Over time we’ve seen increases in demand for these services.

 

Below, using data from kwfinder.com, we have looked at the number of searches per month in Google UK over time for certain keywords:

 

Keyword

Searches Google UK January 2017

Searches Google UK January 2018

Searches Google UK January 2019

Searches Google UK January 2020

Searches Google UK January 2020

Blood pressure monitor

49500

40500

49500

60500

90500

Blood pressure machine

4400

8100

9900

12100

27100

Home blood tests

590

1000

1300

1900

2900

Body scales

480

1000

1600

1900

2900

 

We can see over time an increase in demand around home blood tests, body scales and blood pressure monitors, potentially implying a growing interest in tracking more of our key health metrics at home.

 

Taking Care of Our Health

According to our founder, Mina Khan, taking care of our health is one of the kindest things we can do for ourselves. She comments:

 

“Our health is so important. And while some medical conditions are unavoidable, we do see a lot of conditions that people could potentially prevent or at least improve. It’s really important to invest in your health, eat a varied diet, stay active and sleep well. It’s easier said than done, of course. And our busy lives sometimes make it more challenging. But it’s always worth spending some time on both your physical and mental health."

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