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Most people are health illiterate, says PruHealth

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Brits are illiterate — at least they are when it comes to their health-says private medical insurer, PruHealth. New research suggests that almost three quarters of Brits have little or no knowledge about key health indicators — including blood pressure reading, cholesteral levels and body mass index (BMI index) — and it’s putting the nation’s health and wellbeing at stake.
 
Body mass index (BMI index), cholesterol levels and blood pressure are all key indicators used to monitor health and predict the likelihood or not of heart disease.
 
  • Body mass index (BMI index - indicator of weight to height ratio): Only a quarter of Brits know their BMI, and 60 per cent don’t even know what BMI stands for.
  • Blood pressure: Less than half (49 per cent) know their blood pressure reading.
  • Cholesterol: Only 29 per cent know their cholesteral levels.
  • Family history: 12 per cent don’t know their family history of illness.
 
The insurer says these findings suggest that many Brits are ‘health illiterate’. They do not know the vital statistics that could help save their lives. Yet despite this, as many as four in five (84 per cent) Brits consider themselves healthy.
 
Dr Chris Dark: Chief Medical Officer of PruHealth comments;
"Research points to exercise as the crucial component in staying healthy. You need at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week. This, combined with a healthy diet, puts you in the best position to enjoy a long and healthy life."
 
To help people work out their Vital Stats, PruHealth offers its members free fitness assessments at its partner gyms and access to discounted health screens. In addition, members can also access healthy meal plans on their website, and discounted attendance at Allen Carr workshops to help stop smoking.
 
PruHealth is the UK’s only private insurer to reward people who look after their health. Members earn points for activities such as going to the gym, or stopping smoking, and by doing this they could earn up to 100 per cent of their current year’s premium back towards renewal.
 

New Government health initiative

PruHealth has been asked to champion the Government’s new health initiative, which aims to encourage people to make small changes to their lifestyle in order to give them a better chance of living longer, healthier lives.
 
Shaun Matisonn, Chief Executive of PruHealth said:
 
"As the only representative from the private medical insurance industry, we are delighted. The government's initiative closely aligns with our core concept - people who take steps to look after themselves reduce their risk of bigger health problems in the future.” The government believes small changes make a big difference to your health and at PruHealth we reward our members for making those small changes. We also make healthy activities more affordable to do in the first place, for instance our discounted gym deals with Cannons and Holmes Place."
 

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Private medical insurance : News update: May 2006