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Research reveals health is low down on the list of priorities for UK people

4th November 2014

We are more likely to splash out on the wellbeing of our pets than we are to protect our own health, according to a large-scale study by health and wellbeing specialist benenden.

Shockingly, the results reveal that it’s not only our animal friends we put before ourselves. They also prove that we are just as likely to spend time and money safeguarding our material possessions, keeping cars and motorbikes on the road and even on servicing the central heating boiler, than giving our own bodies a full MOT.

The OnePoll research, which quizzed 2000 adults around the UK, found that of those surveyed, 52% own a pet and 70% of those have taken it to the vet at least once in the past year. Half (46%) of all pet owners are also splashing out an average of £19.50 per month on insurance.

Similarly, 71% of those surveyed own a car or motorbike with 88% of those getting it serviced at least once a year - paying anything up to £400 – with an average cost of £175. A third (33%) of people are even happy to spend money on having their central heating boiler checked and serviced – costing an average of £98 per year.

And it’s not just about what we spend, the results revealed that nearly 20% (17.9%) of those surveyed never visit their doctor, with 60% saying that in the past five years they have not been to their local GP surgery for any sort of general health check – including organised clinics such as Well Woman – and 45% say they never would.

Jon Craven, Managing Director of Benenden Wellbeing said of the survey results: “It’s worrying to see that health is so low down as a priority for a lot of people – with men and women more motivated to spend money on safeguarding the wellbeing of their pets health than their own.

“Whilst we spend £100s on servicing our cars – on top of the mandatory yearly MOT - to keep them running smoothly, most of us are simply not prepared to do the same for our bodies, with many people rarely, if ever, visiting their GP. It seems that our health is taking a back seat for many of us which could have worrying longer-term consequences.”

And there also appears to be a general attitude of disapproval towards people who do use their local GP surgery for general health checks with 40% of respondents branding them either hypochondriacs or accusing them of wasting valuable NHS resources.

However, despite the disapproval of seeking free health checks on the NHS, people are even less likely to pay for one privately with 88% of survey respondents saying they have never paid for one and 40% saying it’s not something they’d consider.

Jon Craven continued, “It’s also alarming to see that when it comes to the split between the sexes, men are the worst offenders for putting their health at the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list and most likely to avoid a trip to the doctors – with 20% saying they never visit their GP, compared to 13% of women.”

More than half of the men surveyed (56%) have not visited their GP surgery in the past five years for a health check – surprisingly the figure was slightly higher for women at 61%. Nearly half of both sexes (47% men and 44% women) says they wouldn’t consider a health check with their GP, and even of the rest who would, 40% of both sexes say they’d not be prepared to pay for it.

But once again, the time, money and attention given to pets and material possessions highlights a very different attitude.

Slightly fewer men than women own a pet (50% of men vs 55% of women), however they are more likely to take that pet to the vet at least once a year compared to women (71% vs 69%). Similarly, while slightly fewer men than women have pet insurance (45% vs 47%), they are in fact likely to pay more each month (41% of men with pet insurance pay between £20 and £30 each month compared to 38% of women and 35% of all 2000 respondents). The average paid by both sexes per month is just under £20 per month.

73% of men own a car or motorbike compared to slightly fewer women (70%) and a big majority of them like to ensure their pride and joy is running well with 88% of both sexes getting their vehicles serviced at least once a year with men more likely to pay more at an average of £185 compared to women who pay £166.

Both men and women understand the importance of protecting their homes with 75% of both men and women having contents insurance, paying an average of £19 per month; 35% of men and 32% of women take out annual boiler breakdown and servicing insurance paying an average £106 and £91 respectively.

Jon Craven was speaking as benenden launched its new health assessments service to help consumers take manageable steps towards a better health and wellbeing. Available to all they offer a wide selection of flexible and excellent value health check-ups completed by healthcare professionals that are committed to providing the highest service and clinical integrity.

He said: “Benenden’s health assessments are designed to be an accessible, good value way, to check your body for any underlying health issues and begin to put them right before they become a problem.”

“Some people will want to take a health assessment simply to put their mind at ease, while others will use one to encourage them to take up a healthier lifestyle – perhaps quitting smoking, losing weight and/or taking up regular exercise. Whatever the purpose of having a benenden health assessment, benenden’s healthcare experts will be on-hand to support and advise.”

Fnd out more about benenden health assessments.

To obtain a full copy of the survey results or for more information about the findings, please contact media@benenden.co.uk

 

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