Getting fat is revealed as our biggest health concern

New research into our biggest personal health concerns has revealed that as we get older, becoming overweight is the number one worry for men and women over 45. Lack of fitness was the second greatest concern, followed by eye health for men and muscular skeletal health for women in that age group.

The YouGov survey[1] of 2,306 adults on behalf of not-for-profit healthcare organisation Nuffield Health, looked into the personal health attitudes of Brits. The study asked participants to indicate which health issues have concerned them personally over the past 12 months.

Jay Brewer, Professional Head of Clinical Wellbeing at Nuffield Health said: “It is encouraging that the importance of fitness is on people’s minds as a lack of fitness has been strongly linked to disability and premature death from a number of different conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer. Interestingly, while bodyweight was also a top health concern for those over 45, nutrition rated very low as a concern for this age group, at three per cent for men and five for women. Nutrition is intrinsically linked to bodyweight and these results suggest there is more education needed in this area.”

Over three-quarters of men and around two-thirds of women over 45 are overweight or obese, according to Public Health England.[2]

Jay Brewer said: “When we reach middle age, we begin to worry most about what is affecting those around us. Conditions such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes become increasingly common. Having regular health check-ups and getting the right advice on diet and lifestyle are critical to make a real impact on these conditions. Really, health check-ups should be as regular as visiting the dentist.”

The research also revealed the number one concern for women under 45 was emotional wellbeing (41 per cent) while for men it was rated second after fitness with 24 per cent stating it was concern whilst 30 per cent cited fitness as the top concern.

Jay Brewer said: “We see the different life stages borne out in these results. In the lead up to middle age, life is at its most stressful with career and family pressures. Men and women under 45 both rated emotional wellbeing among their top two concerns. Understanding both our physical and emotional health equally is critical to maintaining a lifetime of health.”

Earlier this year Nuffield Health revealed data showing the average age of its most frequent gym user is 67. Members in this age group were shown to visit the gym an average of eight times a month, whereas those aged 27 visited an average of five times a month in comparison.[3]

Nuffield Health offers a range of health assessments which give a detailed view of a person’s health covering key health concerns such as diabetes, heart health, cancer risk and emotional wellbeing. A 20 per cent discount on all Health Assessments is currently available until 31 October 2016. To book call 0333 3315 319 quoting reference Gym20 or visit

[1] YouGov survey on behalf of Nuffield Health of 2,306 adults aged 18+ from 6 and 7 January 2016

[2] Patterns and trends in adult obesity. Public Health England. April 2016. accessed August 2016

[3] Based on Nuffield Health member swipes Jan – March 2015, minimum of ten member sample size

Last updated Tuesday 2 May 2017

First published on Monday 3 October 2016