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02 August 2016, 01:00

Partners not public health messages have more impact on health

• Research shows what influences people to take action when it comes to their health
• The influence of our partner is so impactful that nearly one in 10 adults say if it wasn’t for their encouragement, they would never visit the GP
• Public health campaigns such as 5-a-Day and anti-smoking campaigns have little impact with only 4% surveyed saying they influence them to improve their health

Despite the fact we receive a barrage of public health messaging on a daily basis, such as make sure you have your 5-a-day and anti-smoking campaigns, new research reveals that they barely have any impact on improving the nation’s health, with adults more likely to make a change or seek professional opinion if their partner encourages them to do so.

New research released today by Saga Health Insurance*, asked people what most influences them to take action when it comes to their health and fitness. Only 4% say that public health campaigns impact them and just 5% consider food labelling when it comes to taking action on improving their health.

When it comes to the reasons for improving our health and fitness, women say that physical reasons including putting on weight is what is most likely to spur them on to improve their health or fitness (37%) and for men it’s the influence of their partners (29%).

The study found that a quarter of adults have some concern about their spouse/partner when it comes to their health and lifestyle, with those aged 65-74 (31%) most likely to worry. In fact, our partner’s influence is so impactful that nearly one in 10 adults say if it wasn’t for their partner encouraging them they would never visit the GP.

A quarter say that the reason they avoid visiting their GP is how difficult and time consuming it is to get an appointment and a fifth say they don’t want to bother the doctor, many also believe that their health concerns won’t be listened to (14%).

Kevin McMullan, head of Saga Health Insurance commented: “More than 90% of people say they discuss their concerns with their partner, which is great news, but the key is to turn this discussion into positive action. It is worrying that one in ten people say they are not going to see their GP if they have a concern, their GP would much rather see them early than have to deal with the consequences later.”

Saga Health Insurance customers receive access to a free 24/7 GP helpline, enabling people to get advice and diagnosis from the comfort of their own home without having to wait for a slot with their local GP. In addition Saga offers a wealth of health advice and information at


Notes to editors
* Research carried out by Opinion Matters for Saga between: 17th June 2016 and 20th June 2016 amongst a sample of 2,008 adults aged 18+

About Saga Health Insurance
Saga specialises in understanding the needs of people over 50 and has been providing quality private health insurance for more than 25 years.
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