The economy is taking a dramatic toll on the nation's health, diet and fitness and could have serious long-term health implications, according to a new report launched today by Friends Provident and UK charity the Blood Pressure Association.
Almost 29 million people - that's nearly two thirds of the nation - feel more stressed, less fit and healthy, and more prone to illness than they did three years ago. And according to the Britain Under Pressure report, credit crunch concerns mean more than one in three people (37 per cent) are worrying more, one in five (19 per cent) are sleeping less and 15 per cent are working longer hours.
According to the report, diet and exercise are losing out, with more than half buying cheaper food as a cost cutting measure, 15 % have cut spending on fresh fruit and vegetables, and almost a quarter have cut back on gym use this year, many because of the economic situation. The dual effect on lifestyles of the economy and lack of concern over long term health is in danger of creating a blood pressure ticking time bomb, warns the Blood Pressure Association.
Mark Jones, at Friends Provident, says: "Our research found that 87 % consider their health to be important to them, but this is not reflected in how they live, with four out of five people not doing enough to look after their body and health. Lifestyle changes - poor diet and lack of exercise in particular - can have a negative effect on their blood pressure and consequently their long-term health."
The Britain Under Pressure Report found:
- Many are reliant on take-aways and ready meals with more than three quarters regularly buying ready meals and/or ordering take-aways
- 7% admit they have started drinking more alcohol, and 9% anticipate consuming more alcohol during the next six months
- 6% admit they have started smoking more because of economic worries
- 42% never, or hardly ever, monitor the salt content of their food
- One in three never or rarely eats the recommended amount of fruit or vegetables