Bupa Reveals the Average Brit is Cutting Life Expectancy by 12 Years



Released on: March 11, 2011, 10:30 am
Author: Bupa
Industry: Healthcare

Bupa has revealed that the average Brit is at risk of cutting more than a decade off their life through unhealthy lifestyle habits. This is according to new research from the leading international healthcare group.

The Bupa study assessed lifestyle behaviours such as smoking, alcohol intake, diet and exercise as well as other factors, in nearly 5,000 adults across Britain to calculate the nation's average Health Age, which is the impact that lifestyles are having on Briton's life expectancy.

The results showed that on average, Brits have a Health Age 12 years older than if they adopted healthy habits. Worryingly, more than one in eight people are at risk of cutting their life short by 20 years or more.

Being married or in a long-term relationship has a positive impact on Health Age across all age groups, increasing potential life expectancy by more than four years.

Women in their 50s had some of the unhealthiest behaviours, being more inactive and overweight than women in other age groups. Men in their 50s and 60s were also more inactive and overweight than other men.

Dr Annabel Bentley, medical director, Bupa Health and Wellbeing said: "We all know that bad habits such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol damage our health but these findings show the real impact of our habits and the number of years we're knocking off our lives unnecessarily.

"But it's never too late to make a change for the better. Whether you're in your twenties or in your seventies, you could add years to your life by making lifestyle changes."

A link between happiness and healthiness also showed that nine out of ten of the healthiest people (91% - those within 6 years of their ideal health age) thought they were as happy as or happier than other people, while less than 7 in 10 of the least healthy people (66% - 25 or more years away from their ideal health age) thought so.

Even making one change to lifestyle can have a significant impact on life expectancy. For example, a 25 year old female who drinks 20 units a week (ten standard glasses of wine), could add up to three years to her life by drinking three fewer glasses of wine a week.

Users can discover their health age by completing the health age calculator at www.bupa.co.uk/findhealthy.

The calculator asks for basic information such as height, weight and age and for details on smoking, drinking, diet and exercise habits. The calculator then quantifies how far users are rolling back the clock or fast-forwarding their life if they continue in the same way.

To help empower people to make changes, the calculator also provides a figure of how many years someone can add to their life and provides recommendations, in likely order of priority, as to how to start lowering their health age.

The activity coincides with the launch of Bupa's 'Helping You Find Healthy' campaign which is a drive to engage the public to be as healthy as they can be.

About Bupa:
Bupa's purpose is to help people lead longer, healthier, happier lives.

A leading international healthcare group, we offer personal and company health insurance, run care homes for older people and hospitals, and provide workplace health services, health assessments and chronic disease management services, including health coaching, and home healthcare.

With no shareholders, we invest our profits to provide more and better healthcare. We are 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.


PR contact:
Amy Goodan
PR Office
Bupa House
15-19 Bloomsbury Way
(0)207 656 2454