Healthy lifestyle options could save billions

Unhealthy lifestyle choices cost the NHS, employers and individuals £17.7 billion every year, according to research from health insurer and provider Bupa.

This figure could rise to almost £33 billion per year by 2025 on current trends, the firm has predicted.

Making healthier lifestyle choices – such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake and becoming more active – could have an immediate impact on people’s wallets, it added.

Bupa has calculated that smokers who successfully quit find, on average, an extra £1,555 in their pocket at the end of the year through money saved on cigarettes.

Excessive drinkers who committed to drinking within the Government’s recommended daily allowance could save an average of £200 per year.

People suffering from obesity could reduce their future earning power by as much as £500 per annum because qualifications, skills and experience become outdated during long-term absences from work caused by their conditions.

Moreover, employers could save close to £3 billion per year by 2025, according to Bupa, from increased productivity and decreased sick pay, including £1.8 billion lost annually through alcohol abuse. The NHS, in turn, could save £8.2 billion per year by 2025, added the company.

Dr Peter Mace, assistant medical director, Bupa Health and Wellbeing, said: “While ultimately it’s up to individuals to make healthy lifestyle choices, there is a huge opportunity for healthcare providers and employers to play their part in empowering individuals to live more healthily.

“The benefits for everyone are clear,” he added.

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