Brits set health goals for their partners over themselves

05 January 2018

Hiding treats and secretly switching to low fat options are tactics used by couples to urge  their other half to be healthier

  • Men more likely than women to set resolutions for their loved one
  • Throughout the year, Brits worry about their partner’s health more than twice a week
Couple looking at an ipad

Millions of Brits will be setting health resolutions for their other halves rather than themselves this January, according to research by Bupa Health Clinics. 

With over a third (37%) of people confessing to the trend, it’s men leading the way with 44 per cent having set resolutions for their loved one instead of themselves in the past, compared to just 30 per cent of women.

The most common new year pledges set for a partner are healthier eating (44%), weight loss (43%) and exercise (36%), but a quarter will be encouraging their other half to reduce their stress levels and 15 per cent will prompt them to strike a better work-life balance.

However, these findings aren’t restricted to the first few weeks of the year. Two thirds of the nation admit they put their loved one’s health ahead of their own all year round. The average Briton worries about their partner’s wellbeing more than twice a week, and three in ten sit down to discuss these concerns with their loved one on a weekly basis. 

The research found that nearly two thirds of adults admit to making tactical choices in an attempt to improve their partner’s health. Swapping food for low-fat options, hiding treats and reducing sugar in hot drinks are among the sneaky tricks Brits employ to manage their companion’s health.

Going to bed earlier to encourage more sleep is a strategy used by some, while others have made personal sacrifices such as quitting smoking themselves and going on a diet as a couple. One respondent even gave their significant other a hard dose of reality by measuring out sugar into a jug to show them how much they’d consumed that day.

Further findings from the Bupa Health Clinics poll of 1,000 men and 1,000 women revealed that Brits worry most about their other half getting stressed easily, not getting enough sleep, and suffering with niggling issues such as a persistent cough or back pain. 

Reasons given for focussing on loved ones and overlooking themselves include the belief they’re healthy and don’t need to worry about their own wellbeing , or admitting they’ll address their own health issues if and when any symptoms become problematic

Dr Petra Simic, Clinical Director, Bupa Health Clinics, says: “The research shows that people put more focus on their loved ones’ health at the cost of their own.  It’s wonderful to see what a caring nation we are, but it’s important to understand that looking after ourselves actually gives us the ability to look after others, and is just as important. Regardless of the time of year, couples can work together on setting goals and helping each other to achieve them.

“In some cases, a professional opinion can help to motivate people to make healthier choices. Both parties taking their concerns to their GP or getting a health assessment will not only stop that persistent worrying, but you’ll both come away with key things to focus on.”

Bupa’s health assessments also offer follow up calls with a health advisor which help keep clients focussed on their goals. 

 Top concerns about the health of our other halves

1. Getting stressed easily (30%) 
2. Not sleeping enough (29%) 
3. Niggling ailments like back pain or a persistent cough (26%)
4. Doing no exercise (24%) 
5. Working too hard (22%)
6. Being overweight (22%)
7. Eating too much junk food (17%) 
8. Drinking alcohol regularly (15%) 
9. Rarely walking anywhere (14%) 
10. High blood pressure (14%) 

Top tactics employed to improve partner’s health

1. Stopped buying treats/junk food (22%)
2. Tried to limit stress factors (20%)
3. Started a diet alongside partner (18%)
4. Sent partner for a health check (14%)
5. Started going to bed earlier (13%) 
6. Switched food for a low-fat option without them knowing (12%)
7. Reduced sugar in hot drinks (11%) 
8. Hid treats/junk food (9%)
9. Encouraged them to join a club or hobby which keeps them fit (8%)
10. Stopped buying alcohol (8%) 

In trying to help their loved one, twenty-eight per cent of people will go as far as to book doctor’s appointments for their partner, with 22 per cent agreeing it’s because their loved one never gets around to booking their own. Over a quarter said their significant other is simply “too busy to book their own.

The research commissioned by Bupa Health Clinics and carried out by One Poll in December 2017, surveyed 2,000 men and women over the age of 16 who are in relationships. 

About Bupa Health Clinics: 

  • With more than 50 Bupa health centres across the UK, we offer a range of trusted health services close to where people live and work. 
  • Bupa Health Clinics are open to everyone, whether you have Bupa insurance or not. 
  • Our health and dental clinics offer a range of everyday health services from GP and physiotherapy appointments and health assessments to general, cosmetic and specialist dentistry. 
  • Bupa’s range of health assessments give people a snapshot of their health and help them make informed decisions.
  • Our health assessments are designed to make sure people engage with their health before the assessment, and have continued support to meet their goals afterwards.
  • Your Health Assessor will also help you set relevant goals, give you access to the Bupa Boost app to keep you on track and your advisor will call you in the months following to coach and help you. You'll also have 24/7 access to a GP for a whole year for yourself and family who live with you.
  • Bupa clinics are on the high street across the country and offer: health assessments, health services like GP appointments, dental appointments including orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry, dermatology, physiotherapy, osteopathy and podiatry.

About Bupa

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives.

At Bupa, we have no shareholders. Our priority is looking after you... through our care homes, health insurance, health centres and dental centres. Bupa. Our focus is your health.

We have 15.7 million health insurance customers, provide healthcare to around 14.5 million people in our clinics and hospitals, and look after over 23,000 aged care residents.

We directly employ around 80,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, Chile, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the USA, Brazil, the Middle East and Ireland, and many more through our associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India.

Health insurance is around 73% of our business. In a number of countries, we also run clinics, dental centres, hospitals, and care homes and villages.

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