Life Line Screening has published the results of its private health screening survey.
Private health screening is becoming increasingly popular in the UK & Ireland. Whilst there are metrics on the benefits of screenings in detecting potentially life-threatening conditions early, and thereby preventing conditions such as Stroke and cardiovascular disease, Life Line Screening’s report aims to provide more evidence relating to the effects of screenings on modifying behavioural change.
One area of debate about health screening is that certain types of health screening can lead to “false reassurance”. An individual who has a screening may gain the impression that they have a clean bill of health if no risk factors have been identified. As a result, they may choose to pay less attention to their health overall and lead a less healthy lifestyle than they would otherwise have done. This research aims to look further at this hypothesis and gauge a better understanding of the motivations of individuals who have health screenings, based on evidence rather than subjective judgements. It aims to understand the proportions of individuals who choose to improve their health as well as the number of people who choose not to.
136 people who had Life Line Screening health screenings were surveyed in July 2010 by a researcher from Addenbrookes Hospital. They were invited to answers questions based on their perceptions on health and lifestyle changes as a result of having had a screening.
When asked “Did going for a screening make you think more about your health?” 77% of responders answered yes. Participants were then asked if they have made any positive changes to their lifestyle following their screening. 51% stated they had started eating more healthily, 45% stated they had started exercising more than before (and 18% of the total had tried a new exercise), 35% reported losing weight, 71% had focused on keeping weight at a healthy level, 60% were careful about alcohol consumption, 52% commented that they were controlling their stress levels, 30% reported they had read more health-focussed publications and 74% paid more attention to their overall health.
Only 7% of all responders commented that they had led less-healthy lifestyle following their screening.
The full report on the impact of health screening on lifestyle change is available on the Life Line Screening website in PDF format.