March 3, 2010 / 3:04 PM / 9 years ago

Most Britons talk, fret about fitness and do little

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Most Britons are “all talk-no action” when it comes to health and wellbeing, according to a survey for the British state health service.

A man sits on a wall in the Canary Wharf financial district of London, April 1, 2009. REUTERS/Simon Newman

Nearly half (46 percent) of 2,047 adult respondents to a survey from National Health Service’s new online NHS MidLifeCheck service said they needed to think more about leading a healthy lifestyle.

A nearly equal number of people (47 percent) admitted they spend a lot more time talking about getting healthy than actually doing anything about it, and a third of adults (33 percent) say they wouldn’t know where to start.

Women own up to being the worst offenders with one in two (48 percent) of the 45-64-year-olds surveyed saying they are more inclined to give advice about being healthy than take it (31 percent for men of the same age), the NHS said.

“Most people in their 40’s generally enjoy good health, however for some people certain chronic health issues can start at this age - with cancer, heart disease and diabetes being some of the biggest causes of death,” Britain’s Chief Medical Officer Liam Donaldson said in an emailed statement.

The survey also revealed that although people around 40 years old are much less knowledgeable about their own health and fitness than their parents, they spend more time worrying about it.

Nearly 70 percent of middle aged respondents had no idea about their blood pressure, compared to 27 percent of people over the age of 65.

Top of the list of concerns for mid-lifers as they get older was keeping fit and active (81 per cent), with staying slim at 73 per cent and 70 per cent worrying about emotional wellbeing.

NHS MidLifeCheck ( was launched to help people over 40 turn good intentions into reality.

The free, confidential website is easy to use and supports people in planning for changes they choose to make.

Following a simple multiple-choice lifestyle questionnaire, the site gives personal results and advice. Users can create an individual plan, set goals, track their weight and sign up for free emails, texts or letters to help them along the way.

Reporting by Paul Casciato, editing by Patricia Reaney

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