....the need for improved overall health

Satisfaction with health has fallen

The proportion of people aged 16 and over in the UK who were somewhat, mostly or completely satisfied with their health was lower in the financial year ending 2014 (57.8%) than in the previous year (59.3%). The way in which people view their health is crucial to well-being. Although we are living longer healthier lives, we are less satisfied with our health. This highlights the importance of considering how people are feeling, for example, their satisfaction with health alongside measures such as healthy life expectancies.

Increase in the proportion indicating some depression or anxiety

In the financial year ending 2014 the proportion of people aged 16 and over in the UK that showed some evidence of anxiety or depression, according to the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) increased to 19.7%, from 18.3% in the previous year. Mental health is a factor that affects well-being. People with positive mental health will feel good about themselves, and will feel they are better equipped to cope with their problems, whereas those people that indicate depression or anxiety may find this more challenging. This will undoubtedly impact on personal and therefore national well-being.


no improvement in ratings of happiness, anxiety and feeling that things in life are worthwhile over the 1 year period between the years ending March 2015 and 2016


Obesity prevalence has increased from 15% in 1993 to 26% in 2014.



As organisations continue to try to achieve more with less, develop leaner systems and greater efficiency, the toll it takes on employees’ mental and physical health has climbed the agenda. Increased presenteeism – employees who attend work whilst ill – is one possible outcome of the pressure on organisations to remain competitive and boost productivity.

...since the Black Review (2008) there has been an emphasis on promoting ‘wellness’ cultures with good line manager support and a shift away from thinking that work is damaging unless fully fit. The Statement of Fitness for Work (known as a ‘fit note’), was introduced in April 2010 across England, Wales and Scotland to improve back-to-work advice for individuals on sickness absence and communication between individuals, doctors and employers on what a patient could do at work, thereby reducing sickness absence levels.

 A recent UK survey by mental health charity MIND (October 2013) shows that less than a third (32 per cent) think that time off for stress is treated as seriously as time off for a physical illness and nearly half (42 per cent) believe that time off for stress is seen as an ‘excuse’ for something else. Psychological illness presents a problem for line managers as those afflicted often suffer in silence. The MIND survey of 2,000 workers shows:

■ Forty-five per cent of workers feel that staff are expected to cope without mentioning stress at work.

■ Thirty-one per cent said they would not be able to talk openly to their line manager if they felt stressed.

■ Twenty-two per cent of workers felt their boss takes active steps to help them manage stress.