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Great British Health Check results

The results from our Great British Health Check are in! Here's what we've learnt about the health of Great Britain going into 2022.

For the first time, we’ve conducted our Great British Health Check to understand the nation’s thoughts and feelings about the current state of their health. And the results show quite a change in what we’re hoping to get out of the year ahead.     

Goals for 2022 

January usually comes with a barrage of messages about starting a strict new diet or exercise regime. This year feels somewhat different (again).  

Forget New Year, new you – today, we’re more focused on mental health, ditching stress, and appreciating our bodies. And that’s backed by the fact that 77% of people said their attitudes towards health have changed. 

The Great British Health Check found in 2022 people are planning to: 

  • De-stress (49%)
  • Work on better mental health practices (47%)
  • Work towards a better work/life balance (35%)

This is a stark contrast from the usual suspects of losing weight (just 19% of people said this), and perhaps Dry January is taking a back seat too (12% of people aim to drink less alcohol).  

Are New Year new diets a thing of the past? 

New goals seem to go deeper. They’re more about taking care of our mental wellbeing, working on being happy, and lowering stress in our lives.  

This isn’t surprising since 77% of people told us their attitudes towards their health have changed over the last two years, with almost a third of adults taking more responsibility for their own health.

While a big chunk of people (43%) said they feel constantly tired, a third told us they feel happy in their bodies, and one in six (18%) feel more body confident than they did five years ago.

How do we reach these new goals? 

  1. Find your motivation

More than half (53%) of people told us that a lack of motivation stops them from prioritising health. But how do you become more motivated?  

Popular ways to help with motivation include having a goal to work towards and then setting mini-goals to accomplish along the way. Some people find it helpful to have mini rewards once they reach their goals. 

Healthwise, understanding your starting point can help with motivation. Seeing yourself record more good days than bad or moving your cholesterol from being unhealthy or healthy can both be rewarding. Blood tests can help you find your health baseline and track progress over time. Use our test finder to find the right blood test for you.  

Another way to keep motivated is to strengthen your support. Less than a quarter (24%) of people told us they currently get enough exercise. You might want to join a group, like if you’re trying to ditch smoking or find healthier eating habits, or rope a friend into training with you if you aim to run a marathon, 10k, or couch to 5k.  

  1. Prioritise sleep

Sleep impacts your health, from how you feel to your energy levels. It can affect how hungry you are and your mood the next day.   

In our Great British Survey, just 30% of people told us they get enough sleep. That is a whopping two-thirds of people going around with their batteries half charged. Well, you wouldn’t let that happen to your smartphone or fitness device, so why your body? 

You can improve your sleep by: 

  • Getting enough exercise during the day
  • Avoiding bright lights and sounds before bed
  • Getting up at the same time every day
  • Taking time to wind down
  • Reducing your caffeine intake 
  1. Set healthy habits (and boundaries)

De-stressing, working on better mental health, and finding a healthy work-life balance can all link back to setting healthy habits and boundaries. 

Try mapping out your perfect day. What does it look like? What do you make time for?  

 Some healthy habit ideas: 

  • Go for a short walk before work –it’s time for no-tech and creates space between you and your day. 
  • Make time to escape in a show, book, or podcast –we all have something that hooks us. Whether it’s your favourite artist, author, or presenter – make time to have some downtime that you’re proud of. Then, tell your friends about it. Everyone loves a good recommendation.  
  • Work on your social connections –who do you enjoy spending time with? Call a friend and plan to meet up once a week – you may even want to join a club together.  

A quarter of people told us they’re taking more of an interest in alternative health, so maybe you could include some mindfulness, tai chi, or yoga in there.

Of course, we can set other healthy habits that link directly to healthy eating or exercise goals, too. The important thing here is to work out your goals and what makes you happy. Then, make them happen.  

Great British Health Check 2022 

Given the challenges and uncertainty we all faced in 2021, it’s heartening to see that we’re planning to be kinder to ourselves in 2022 by focusing on achievable goals.  

When it comes to current health worries, we’ve learnt that in 2021:

  • The biggest concern for most was stress (56%), followed by COVID (41%), and chronic illness (37%).
  • More people feel stressed about family or personal issues (38%) than about work (27%).
  • Women are more likely to experience family-related stress (42%) than men (29%), with familial pressures (43%) more likely for people in their 30s.

Blood testing in 2022

We’re all juggling different priorities and sources of stress daily, so taking increased interest in our health is advisable. An annual at-home health check can help to alleviate health anxieties and keep you motivated for the year ahead. 

To help keep you to track of your health in 2022, we’ve launched a new range of Milestone Blood Tests, which we've created based on goals for your age. These home blood tests provide key health insights to help you make informed choices and improve your wellbeing. 

The finger-prick tests, which can be taken at home and posted to an accredited UK laboratory, check cholesterol, thyroid (in the women’s tests), kidney, and liver function, as well as vitamins and minerals that can affect energy levels and mental wellbeing.