Linthwaite-based Thornton & Ross, part of the STADA Group, launched the STADA Health Report UK 2023 at an event in Madrid yesterday that reveals overly busy Brits are putting themselves at risk of dying young. The report shows that we are potentially stacking up life-threatening medical problems for the future by failing to make time to take simple, but lifesaving, preventative measures available to us now. 

Founded in Huddersfield in 1922, Thornton & Ross is one of the UK’s fastest-growing, leading producers of household pharmaceutical products and own some of the country’s most loved brands including Covonia®, Hedrin®, Cetraben® and Zoflora®.

Amongst a plethora of home truths about the health of our nation, in comparison to the rest of Europe, covering everything from sex and sneezing, to back pain and dementia, the report’s findings show that us Brits are hugely failing to proactively look after our health – even when it’s for FREE on the NHS. And this is based solidly on independently gathered data, from 32,000 respondents, across 16 countries, 2,000 of which were in the UK. 

The data reveals that only 31 % of Brits attended all the free, preventative health checks they were offered last year. Shockingly, four in ten Brits (40%) say they didn’t go for ANY of the potentially life-saving preventive medical checks they were offered in the previous 12 months, and that includes those to detect ovarian cancer and testicular cancer. 

In a sad reflection of the ongoing cost of living crisis leaving many people working tirelessly to make ends meet, the reason more than one in six Brits of working age (15%) gave for not going for their free, preventative health checks that could potentially save their lives, was that they could never get the time to do so.   

The STADA Health Report, published by global healthcare leader STADA Arzneimittel AG, parent company of Thornton & Ross, one of the largest over-the-counter pharmaceutical manufacturers in the UK, and the firm behind brands like Covonia®, Cetraben®, Hedrin®, Savlon® and Zoflora®, was independently conducted across Europe by Human8 Consulting. 

Other off-putting factors for one in three Brits (33%) were that they didn’t know what preventative health checks they really should go for, and for 13% of Brits they were sticking their heads in the sand, saying they were afraid of receiving a bad diagnosis. 

The good and the bad of women’s health screening 

The new research reveals a huge disparity in women’s health issues across Europe. In the UK, fewer than half of women*** (just 47%), attended their gynecological screening appointment (normally a smear test), whereas the uptake was 71 % on average for women across Europe.  

One in five (20%) of eligible** British women said they don’t go to such preventative appointments because they make them feel uncomfortable, almost double the figure for women in the same age bracket across the rest of Europe (just 11%), who seemed to feel more at ease with them.   

Conversely, one of the few areas where the vital prevention message does really seem to be getting through in Britain is breast screening, with 88% of British women questioned in the eligible age range for screening having had one. Only the Netherlands with 90% uptake in the same age range and Portugal with 91%, came out higher.  

Help yourself to health 

Despite a good diet and regular physical activity being well known as central to health and wellbeing, the STADA Health Report also shows that Brits are not doing well at taking care of themselves on a day-to-day basis when it comes to food and exercise.  

Due to inflation and increased living and energy costs, one in two Brits, along with the rest of Europeans, said they are worried about their finances and so they have had to cut back on their health expenditure.  

Particularly worrying, especially in combination with the lack of preventive medical check-ups, seven out of 10 Brits (72%) made no attempts to eat more healthily over the last year.  Indeed, nearly one in three Brits (28%) said they significantly reduced their spending on fresh food. One in 4 (24%) have tried taking some vitamins or supplements in an attempt to make up for this, however.  

Also, nearly nine out of 10 Brits (88%) have not tried to do any more structured exercise in the last 12 months – one in five (19%) have reduced their spending on sports and exercise. Peter Goldschmidt, chairman of the executive board of STADA, commenting on the findings, said: “Recent events have reminded all of us of the paramount importance of good health. Delivering this and improving systems requires a broad range of people and organisations acting together based on reliable and verifiable information and data. The STADA Health Report is a valuable contribution to this goal and delivers directly on our purpose of Caring for People’s Health as a Trusted Partner.”