POSTED: November 16 2016
Don’t judge a body by its cover

Don’t judge a body by its cover

New research from Bupa has exposed a misguided approach to monitoring health, with people assuming they are healthy as long as they look alright. Over half (51%) of the British population believe all is well on the inside if everything looks okay on the outside, and would only change their lifestyle if they had a warning from a doctor. The report, commissioned by Bupa’s Health Clinics to understand attitudes to maintaining wellbeing, highlighted a strong focus on how we look over how we feel. A third of people would only change their health habits if they could look better as a result and nearly a quarter (23.2%) would do it if they started to see the effects of ageing. This is despite the fact that 36% of people admit to unhealthy sleep patterns and 40% say they’re stressed.

Today the phrase ‘picture of health’ is used when someone looks good. It actually dated back to a medical term used in the 16th century when medicine was in its infancy, and visual clues were all that diagnosticians could work from.

Philip Luce, Bupa UK’s Health and Dental Clinics Director said: “This research shows that despite the fantastic advances we’ve made in medicine, Brits still take an age-old approach to their health. In fact, people are more likely to visit a doctor if they can see something unusual or different about their body than if they’ve been feeling unwell for a few days.”

The research also revealed that Brits check their credit score, test the oil level in their car and even defrag or virus check their computer more frequently than going to the doctor or having a health check.

Brits will also do a clear out of their wardrobe more often than having a general check up, showing that appearance is higher on the list of priorities than good health and wellbeing.

Philip Luce continues: “Our research shows that ‘soldiering on’ is a common attitude which isn’t surprising when we’re all so busy. I’d encourage people to check in on how they’re feeling more often, whether that’s a health check or a quick overview from day to day. Knowing more about your own health means you can make small adjustments that will help prevent issues further down the line.”

The report also found that over a quarter of people don’t know what they weigh, and 74% don’t know their BMI. Nearly 10% of the population don’t know any of the following about their own bodies: height, weight, waist measurement, blood pressure, BMI, resting heart rate, blood sugar or lung capacity.

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