Health of the Nation's MPs revealed by Nuffield Health

The health and lifestyle choices of Britain's MPs are today highlighted in a study by Nuffield Health, the leading not-for-profit healthcare organisation.

It reveals that almost half (46%) of parliamentarians fail to meet the Government's recommendation of two and a half hours of moderate activity each week.

Almost nine in ten MPs (86%) of those questioned admit that they exceed NHS daily calorie guidelines at least once a week - with 71% overeating up to four days a week.

And a half (49%) has embarked on diets in the past 12 months.

Dr Davina Deniszczyc, Nuffield Health’s Medical Director, Wellbeing, said:

"The health of the nation’s MPs directly reflects the health dangers all of us in the UK are facing due to low levels of physical activity, poor diet, sleep and too much alcohol. 

Modern-day living is all about convenience which leads to reduced levels of exercise, poor diet, and poor work/life balance. Social pressure can also cause increased alcohol consumption.

We would encourage everyone, including MPs, to do something different tomorrow from today, make one change, drink one less glass of wine, eat one more healthy meal, walk a little bit further.”

A quarter (25%) get less than six hours sleep each night, compared with the recommended level of between seven and nine hours a night.

And almost a third (29%) says their levels of stress adversely affect their health at least twice a week.

A fifth (21%) of female MPs exceeds the Department of Health's safe weekly alcohol intake guideline of 21 units. And the same (19%) of male MPs consume more than the 28-unit suggested safe limit.

Asked whether they thought their lifestyle was healthy or unhealthy, four in ten MPs (41 per cent) said unhealthy.

Fabian Hamilton, MP, said: 

“Like many, the job of MPs makes it difficult for us to balance the pressure of work with the exercise and diet that are needed to live in a healthy way. 

Despite this, in recent years my circumstances have encouraged me to take responsibility for improving my health by increased physical activity through regular cycling, eating more healthily and managing stress. 

I welcome this study and, in my view, it is important that those of my colleagues, who do not already do so, take similar action.”

Nuffield Health runs 31 hospitals, 75 fitness centres and works with 200 of the country’s top businesses to help boost their employees’ wellbeing.

The Nuffield Health study was carried out by Dods Parliamentary Service. A total of 100 MPs were questioned. Of these, 40 were Conservative MPs, 47 Labour MPs, nine Liberal Democrat MPs and four from other parties. A total of 79 male MPs took part and 21 female members. 

Last updated Friday 8 July 2016

First published on Tuesday 7 October 2014