Bupa announces unhealthy Brits cost country around £17.7 billion a year
Bupa has revealed that unhealthy Brits are costing the NHS, employers and themselves £17.7 billion every year through their lifestyle choices, according to new research from the leading international healthcare group. This figure could rise to almost £33bn a year by 2025 if current health trends continue.
The study calculated immediate and long-term potential savings to individuals and public purses if obesity rates stop rising; the 26 per cent of smokers who attempt to quit each year are successful; and excessive drinkers bring their intake down to recommended levels.
According to the findings, making healthier lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake and becoming more active can have an immediate impact on people’s wallets. Signing up for health cash plans could also help save money if any medical problems did arise, which could be found by undergoing health assessments such as a liver check or a coronary health check.
By 2025, if healthier lifestyles are adopted the total savings made by individuals alone across the UK could amount to £22 billion a year, two thirds of the potential annual savings of £33 billion. The £22 billion comes from savings of £5 billion and £3.9 billion through reduced expenditure on alcohol and cigarettes respectively and £7.4 billion saved in additional earning potential due to increased life expectancy from quitting smoking. Individuals could also save £1.7 billion through increased employment and £3.9 billion through increased earning potential due to a fall in obesity levels.
The findings of the report also outline the long-term financial implications of healthier lifestyles to employers and the NHS, which make up the remainder of the £33 billion figure.
Dr Johann Carinus, assistant medical director, Bupa Health and Wellbeing, said: "This study not only reveals the true cost to the nation of unhealthy lifestyle choices but it also highlights the considerable savings to the public purse which could be achieved through individual commitments to health improvement.
“Data released earlier this year from the Bupa ’Health Age’ report showed that almost 70 per cent of people in the UK wanted to make a positive change to improve their health in 2011. While ultimately it’s up to individuals to make healthy lifestyle choices, there is a huge opportunity for healthcare providers and employers to play their part in empowering individuals to live more healthily. The benefits for everyone are clear.”
To coincide with the new findings, Bupa is launching the “Bupa Health Pledge” campaign, calling on the public to make a Pledge to achieve their health goals - whether it’s to quit smoking, cut down on alcohol, eat more healthily or do more exercise. Bupa has launched a simple tool that allows members of the public to track their progress on a specific Health Pledge and access information, free expert advice and support needed to make the desired change, all on its Facebook page.
As Bupa’s own Health Pledge, the healthcare company is also committing to donate £1 to the British Heart Foundation for everyone who signs up to a Pledge.
Bupa’s purpose is to help people lead longer, healthier, happier lives.
A leading international healthcare group, it offers personal and company health insurance, runs care homes for older people and hospitals, and provides workplace health services, health assessments and chronic disease management services, including health coaching, and home healthcare.
With no shareholders, Bupa invests its profits to provide more and better healthcare. It is committed to making quality, patient-centred, affordable healthcare more accessible in the areas of wellness, chronic disease management and ageing.
Employing nearly 52,000 people, Bupa has operations around the world, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, New Zealand and the USA, as well as Hong Kong, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, India, China and across Latin America.
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