The scale of NHS prevention challenge revealed as survey shows public confusion on what is necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle

* Just over half (52%) of people surveyed think they lead a healthy lifestyle but, of those, approximately one in four do not believe it is necessary to stop smoking, drink less than the recommended amount or get the right amount of exercise to maintain their healthy lifestyle

* Only 24% of eligible people said they would get the over 40s NHS Health Check “in order to reduce the burden on the NHS”. In addition, just over a third of respondents (36%) said they would get the flu jab to keep themselves healthy * Nevertheless 85% of UK survey respondents acknowledge they have a responsibility to keep themselves as healthy as possible to reduce the NHS burden

LONDON – January 21, 2019 – A new survey1 commissioned by Sanofi has revealed the scale of the preventative healthcare challenge in the UK, as around one quarter of those who say they are healthy (52%) don’t think it is necessary to stop smoking (24%), drink less than the recommended amount (27%)* or get the right amount of exercise (28%) to maintain their healthy lifestyle.These figures highlight the scale of the challenge faced by the NHS Long Term Plan, which put the prevention of ill health at the heart of a sustainable NHS.

The overwhelming majority of respondents acknowledge that they have a responsibility to be healthy in order to reduce the burden on the NHS (85%), but today’s figures reveal that there remains a disconnect in terms of understanding around healthy behaviours.

“The NHS Long Term Plan rightly prioritises preventing ill health as a way of building a sustainable health service, but whilst individuals widely acknowledge their responsibility in maintaining good health, in many cases, people are still not in agreement about how to maintain that health.” said Hugo Fry, Managing Director of Sanofi UK.

* Men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week2 Per week, do at least 150 minutes (e.g. five 30-minute sessions) of moderate activity, such as brisk walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, such as jogging or running, as well as 2 or more days a week of strength exercises3

What is critical now is how we work to turn this tide, both as individuals and as a collective. There is a need for the public, patients, Government, the health system and wider society, including employers, to acknowledge the role we all play in supporting maintenance of health. We not only need to support people to understand what healthy living is, but also help them access services and adopt practices that are available to prevent ill health. It has never been more important to partner with the public on their healthcare journey and empower them to lead their healthiest lives.”

Just 24% of eligible people said they would get the NHS Health Check in order to reduce the burden on the health service.

This UK survey forms part of a broader report on the ‘Power of Prevention’ which was launched today in a panel discussion on ‘Prevention and the Future of Health’, led by Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health and Social Care, and sponsored by Sanofi.

Other key figures include:

  • Of those who had taken a prescribed medicine in the last three months:

o 47% on short-course prescriptionsand 60% who have taken a prescription for a long-term condition didn’t read the label

o 23% and 41% respectively even forgot to take a dose

As part of Sanofi’s commitment to supporting people in the UK to live life to its full potential, the company continues to enhance its work environment for employees and will be piloting a health app to track healthy behaviours, along with implementing flexible working, activity-based work and dedicated rooms for health, wellbeing and contemplation. This supplements current programmes such as mental health training, employee flu vaccinations and support for education and awareness with wellness clinics.

About the Power of Prevention survey Market research specialist Populus ran an online, omnibus survey eliciting responses from 1,069 members of the public across the UK about the prevention of ill-health. The fieldwork took place from 16 – 18 November 2018 and was commissioned by Sanofi.



1 Data on file. Power of Prevention omnibus survey. 2018. Conducted by Populus, commissioned by Sanofi. 2 NHS. Alcohol Support. 2018. Available at: Last accessed January 2019. 3 NHS. Exercise. 2018/ Available at: Last accessed January 2019. Date of prep: January 2019 Job bag no: SAGB.SA.18.09.1515(1)b

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