Abstracts: June 13th, 2005

Findings from a Department of Health survey show that the English public feel that they are already active, knowledgeable and interested in doing self care and there is evidence to show that a significant proportion are acting on this. Over three quarters say they lead a healthy lifestyle (77%). More than eight out of ten (87%) say they often treat their minor ailment themselves. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of those who have been a hospital patient in the last six months say they often monitor their illness following discharge.The evidence also suggests that given the kind of understanding people seem to demonstrate on what living a healthy lifestyle means, their motivation to do self care, especially healthy lifestyles, is not at the level at which it could be. Detailed questioning revealed evidence that the public are less active than they say with regards to healthy living. For example, their eating and drinking habits are not at the recommended levels for a healthy lifestyle with only 15% of people drinking the recommended amount of seven glasses of water in an average day, and only 30% eating the recommended five portions of fruit or vegetables.

The survey also found that care professionals need to develop their role in self care because the public feel they are not actively encouraging them at the moment. Community support groups, pharmacists, local community champions and internet based information sources also have a greater potential role they could play in promoting self care.

The survey is available at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/11/12/63/04111263.pdf