Brits don’t start to take their health seriously until they approach the age of 40, according to new research.
A study of 2,000 adults found 42 per cent only start taking more care from the age of 39 as they felt less energetic, while one in five started to feel breathless going upstairs.
Others became more concerned after reaching a ‘milestone birthday’ (20 per cent), having a doctor comment on their wellbeing (nine per cent) or when a family member fell ill or passed away (16 per cent).
It also emerged 28 per cent of adults believe they need to take their health more seriously than they currently do, with 31 per cent wishing they had done so while they were younger.
Dr Sarah Brewer, medical director for Healthspan, which commissioned the research, said: “When you are young, fit and healthy, being concerned about your health and especially your heart health is the last thing on your mind.
“Having to think about your diet and the impact it may be having on your health, and being concerned about issues like heart disease, can seem like something only older people need to worry about.
“Diet and nutrition is so important for heart health that a worldwide study, carried out across 52 countries, concluded that almost a third of heart attacks (30 per cent) are linked with a poor diet.
“While it might seem like a long way off, it’s never too early to start looking after your health while you are young, which can really help you when you are older, and the issues become more real.”
The study also found 30 per cent of adults have been told by someone else they should be taking their health more seriously, including their parents (28 per cent), a doctor (40 per cent) and even a stranger (six per cent).
But 52 per cent admitted they were more likely to be concerned about their weight or their appearance when they were younger, rather than looking after their health and heart as they ‘couldn’t see it’.
Worryingly, 24 per cent have ignored symptoms of potentially serious health issues as they didn’t feel they were ‘old enough’ to have to worry about them.
The findings come after experts have warned the number of people dying from heart and circulatory disease is rising for the first time in 50 years and remains a leading cause of death in the UK, with millions at risk because of conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Dr Ameet Bakhai, Consultant Cardiologist at Spire Bushey Hospital who is working with Healthspan on its Ubiquinol supplement range, added: “It’s never too late to start looking after your heart health, as well as your entire body and mind.
“It’s one of the needless misconceptions in the world that ‘it’s too late for me, I’ve already had a heart attack, it’s downhill from here,’ which is rarely the case.
“The difference between recovering well from a heart attack and recovering poorly is between seven-10 years of additional lifespan or being there for your grandchild’s university graduation.
“The difference often lies in a positive approach, wanting to share, wanting to query, wanting to know your numbers – asking the rehabilitation nurse or pharmacist about your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers and keeping those down and the step count up.”
The study also revealed 56 per cent are struggling to find the motivation to improve their health, blaming their dislike of exercise (41 per cent) and healthy food (23 per cent).
One in five admitted they simply don’t know where to start, 26 per cent don’t have the time and 32 per cent would rather be doing other things.
But 62 per cent have become more motivated to look after their physical and mental health as a result of the pandemic, regardless of their age.
Almost half (44 per cent) of those polled via OnePoll are consciously trying to eat more fruit and vegetables to improve their health, while 38 per cent are trying to cut back on sugar.
Others are taking a vitamin D supplement 34 per cent, eating low fat foods (29 per cent) or a balanced diet (48 per cent), while 12 per cent are taking statins to reduce cholesterol.
Dr Sarah Brewer added: “Ubiquinol may help to reduce the unwanted side effects of statins without affecting their cholesterol-lowering benefits.”
Top 15 reasons for starting to take your health seriously
- You didn’t feel as energetic as you used to
- Not being able to lose weight as easily as you used to
- Realising clothes didn’t fit properly
- A milestone birthday – like 40th or 50th
- Getting out of breath going up stairs
- Having to run a short distance and really struggling
- You had high blood pressure
- A family member getting ill / passing away
- Injuries took longer to recover from
- You had high cholesterol
- Other people pointing out you had put on weight
- You saw a picture of yourself and didn’t recognize yourself
- You were prescribed statins
- Having to take regular naps
- A doctor commented on your health