Education key to enabling self-care - 2023

Research by the consumer health association, PAGB confirms that education is key to increasing self-care with 4 in 5 (83 per cent) of those surveyed saying we need more education to encourage people to take a more proactive approach. 

The research also found that 2 in 5 adults (39 per cent) requested a GP appointment for common health conditions including colds, a blocked nose, insect bites and stings and headaches; with 8 per cent of people visiting A&E for conditions such as dandruff, acne, head lice and other non-urgent and relatively minor health conditions.  

8,000 steps a day to reduce the risk of premature death - 2023

An international study led by the University of Granada has identified for the first time the optimal number of steps at which most people obtain the greatest benefits, and also shows that the pace at which you walk provides additional benefits.

The idea that you should take 10,000 steps a day originated in Japan in the 1960s, but had no scientific basis. Researchers have now shown that, if we focus on the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, most of the benefits are seen at around 7,000 steps with 8,000 expressed as the optimal range.

Any activity is better for your heart than sitting - even sleeping - 2023

Replacing sitting with as little as a few minutes of moderate exercise a day tangibly improves heart health, according to new research by University College London. Supported by the British Heart Foundation, this is the first study to assess how different movement patterns throughout the day are linked to heart health. 

The study found that while small changes can have a positive effect on heart health, intensity of movement also matters. 

How has COVID-19 changed healthcare professionals’ attitudes to self-care? - 2023

This research studied the views of a cross-section of the healthcare workforce following the COVID-19 pandemic to understand if service users, who largely practised self-care during the pandemic, would continue these practices as a first option after the pandemic.  

Self-Medication in Europe: Economic and Social Impact on Individuals and Society - 2023

National healthcare systems across Europe are facing  financial and recruitment challenges. With this in mind, researchers sought to examine the economic and social value of self-medication in Europe.  They found that there is already value associated with self-medication but that this can be increased further by promoting self-care.  Resources freed-up through an adequate self-care policy can play a significant role in building more resilient health systems across Europe, researchers found.  

Soups and Shakes helped people with T2 Diabetes go into remission - 2023

Losing weight can put type 2 diabetes in remission for at least 5 years, new data has suggested.

Figures from the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) show that around a quarter of people in remission from diabetes 2 years after starting a low-calorie “soup and shakes” diet were still in remission 3 years later.

These people no longer needed to take medication to manage their blood sugar levels and had an average weight loss of around 1st 6lb (8.9kg) at the 5-year point.

The data suggests that losing weight and keeping it off can help reverse diabetes.

Coffee with milk may have an anti-inflammatory effect - 2023

Can something as simple as a cup of coffee with milk have an anti-inflammatory effect in humans? Apparently so, according to a new study from the University of Copenhagen. A combination of proteins and antioxidants doubles the anti-inflammatory properties in immune cells. The researchers hope to be able to study the health effects on humans.

Has the pandemic changed self care attitudes? - 2023

A research study by Self Care Forum President, Dr Pete Smith and Trustee, Dr Austen El Osta sought to understand how self-reported professional attitudes, perceptions and practices of self care changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Respondents, made up of pharmacists, nurses, GPs, social prescribers and other health and social care professionals, said the importance of self care had increased markedly during the pandemic. Indeed, respondents who felt self care was extremely important to their service-users increased from 54 per cent to 86 per cent.

Vaping e-cigarettes as harmful for your lungs as smoking cigarettes - 2023

A research paper, published in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, warned that vaping can “cause pulmonary inflammation and increases the risk of lung disease”. The research suggests that e-cigarette users have greater lung inflammation than cigarette smokers. This study is the first to provide evidence that vaping e-liquids with e-cigarettes creates a unique inflammatory response in the lungs that is different from cigarette smoking.

Walking towards healthier knees - 2022

A study reveals that walking for exercise can reduce new frequent knee pain among people aged 50 and older diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis. Additionally, findings from the study indicate that walking for exercise may be an effective treatment to slow the damage that occurs within the joint.

Heavy drinkers four times more likely to smoke in England, study finds - 2022

Research by the University of London found that those who are among the heaviest drinkers in England are four times more likely to smoke than the general population. Because of the findings, experts say heavy drinkers should be prioritized by the government in its plans to achieve ‘smoke-free’ status by 2030.

Walking at pace may help to slow down the biological ageing process - 2022

University of Leicester research of 400,000 UK adults  found a link between walking pace and a genetic marker of biological age, estimating that a lifetime of brisk walking could lead to the equivalent of 16 years younger biological age by midlife.

While the physical, mental, social and health benefits of walking are well-documented, this study is one of the first of its kind to compare genetic data with both self-reported walking speeds, as well as actual measurements of movement intensity from wearable activity tracking devices worn by participants.

One-minute bursts of activity during daily tasks could prolong your life - 2022

In good news for those who don’t like playing sport or going to the gym, research finds just three to four one-minute bursts of huffing and puffing during daily tasks is associated with large reductions in the risk of premature death, particularly from cardiovascular disease.

This study, by the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre in Australia, is the first to accurately measure the health benefits of what researchers have termed ‘vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity’ or VILPA.

Higher rate of hip fractures amongst vegetarian women - 2022

A Leeds University study of more than 26,000 middle-aged UK women reveals those with a vegetarian diet had a 33% higher risk of hip fracture compared to regular meat-eaters.

The research, published in BMC Medicine, investigated the risk of hip fracture in occasional meat-eaters, pescatarians (people who eat fish but not meat) and vegetarians – compared with regular meat-eaters. 

Among 26,318 women, 822 hip fracture cases were observed over 20 years (3% of the sample population). After adjustment for factors such as smoking and age, vegetarians were the only diet group with an elevated risk of hip fracture.  

Education, job, and social life may help protect the brain from cognitive decline - 2022

A study explored the possibility that a healthy social and working life, and education, could help us ward off cognitive decline in our brain.

Some people with amyloid plaques in their brains associated with Alzheimer’s disease show no signs of the disease, while others with the same amount of plaque have clear memory and thinking problems. 

UK researchers looked at genetic and life course factors that may help create a “cognitive reserve” that provides a buffer against the disease.

They found that taking part in clubs, religious groups, sports or artistic activities, occupation and reading ability, may affect the brain’s cognitive reserve. 

Chronic pain in England: Unseen, unequal and unfair - 2021

This report, produced by Versus Arthritis, uses data from the Health Survey for England 2017 to improve our understanding of chronic pain in our society. We know this is a huge problem – a third of people aged 16 years and over reported living with chronic pain, and just over one in ten people report that they
are struggling to cope with severe chronic pain, known as high-impact chronic pain. The majority of people with chronic pain have musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis, although chronic pain is also linked to other health conditions. Versus Arthritis is calling for chronic pain to be viewed as a public health problem requiring a public health solution. 

Developing, piloting and evaluating a Medicines Safety School Programme to be delivered by student pharmacists - 2021

This project aimed to develop content, pilot delivery, and evaluate effectiveness of an innovative Medicines Safety School Programme delivered by student pharmacists to primary school pupils.

The Medicines Safety School Programme has been well received by the pupils, school staff, and student pharmacists involved in the pilot study. Development of the programme is ongoing and is now progressing to embed this innovative educational initiative into the pharmacy undergraduate curriculum.

The Cost of Inequality - putting a price on health - 2021

This paper by the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation proposes a novel way of thinking about inequalities, linking health to wealth and to the economy.  

It shows, for example, that a one-year extension in healthy life expectancy would add around 3.4 months to working lives and 4.5 months to overall life expectancy.   It also shows that it is generally more efficient to focus policy on increasing healthy life expectancy than on extending the total life span. 

Fruit, veg and exercise can make us happier - 2021

Research by the University of Kent and University of Reading found that eating fruit and vegetables, as well as exercising can increase levels of happiness.

While the link between lifestyle and wellbeing has been previously documented and often used to encourage healthier lifestyle habits, findings published by the Journal of Happiness Studies show that there is also a positive causation from lifestyle to life satisfaction.

This research is the first of its kind to unravel the causation of how happiness, the consumption of fruit and vegetables and exercising are related, rather than generalising a correlation. 

Self Care Vital to Healthy Ageing – 2021

The World Economic Forum, says human lifespan really does have a limit though self care is vital to healthy ageing.  Research which looked at the “invariant rate of ageing” found that humans have a built in tendency to age. 

Though life expectancy has risen since the mid-1800s due to healthier, safer societies we will not live forever because ageing is built into our genes.  Scientists believe the “absolute limit” is 150 years but, one thing is clear, however long we live, self care is vital to healthy ageing.  So, stick to a healthy diet, keep active, drink only in moderation, don’t smoke and you could live to be 150.

Limit TV Watching to 2 hours says researchers – 2020

According to a study by scientists at Glasgow University restricting TV watching time for adults could increase longevity. Analysis of information from 500,000 Britons aged from 37 to 73 over seven years showed that 6 per cent of all-deaths and 8 per cent of cardiovascular related deaths could be associated with too much TV watching. The study findings pointed to too much time spent watching TV resulting in less exercise and poor diet.

Food Supplements can help brain development – 2020

Research published in The BMJ recently found that giving nutritional supplements to young children in low income countries for around 6 months could improve their brain health.

Dr. Me. “significantly improves” schoolchildren’s self care knowledge – 2020

A study of more than 200 schoolchildren showed that Dr. Me. – a self care presentation designed by GP Dr Chee Yeen to empower schoolchildren – was shown to significantly improve their understanding of how to self care minor conditions.

The children attended workshops covering vomiting and diarrhoea; sore throat and fever; and minor head injuries. In the study, six case scenarios were asked at the beginning and end of the session, and children decided whether to stay home, visit the GP or attend A&E.

Living longer but not necessarily healthier: The joint progress of health and mortality in the working-age population of England – 2020

According to research in Population Studies – A journal of demography, we are living longer but not necessarily in good health.

The study which looked at generational health, suggests that younger generations can no longer expect to lead healthier lives than their ancestors. People in England in their forties and fifties are, on average, in significantly worse physical shape than those now in their sixties and seventies were at the same age.

The self-care matrix: a unifying self-care framework – 2019

This article was published in the Self-care Journal following a review of academic and lay literature to identify conceptual models of self-care; devising a matrix to be used to view, identify, study and evaluate self-care elements in any health and wellbeing intervention, independent of the disease category or setting. 

A natural approach to health works – 2019

Leeds Beckett University undertook a social return on investment analysis of Wildlife Trust Programmes and found that targeted programmes designed for people with a health or social need showed a return of £6.88 for every £1 invested.  This value was generated from health gains such as improved mental wellbeing.  The research showed a range of benefits, such as increased feelings of positivity and levels of physical activity.

Reducing antibiotic prescribing for self-limiting respiratory tract infections in primary care – A pilot study by Dr Pete Smith et al 2015

Churchill Medical Centre, a primary care centre in Surrey, implemented a practice-wide programme aimed at patients and clinicians to reduce ineffective antibiotic prescriptions for common respiratory tract infections.

The evidence for investing in high quality health information for patients and the public – 2013

The Patient Information Forum (PiF) commissioned research to identify the benefits of investing in health information. The project found that there are good reasons to justify the investment in health information provision and support. These include positive impacts on service use and costs, substantial capacity savings, and significant returns on investment by increasing shared decision-making, self-care and the self-management of long-term conditions.

Primary Care: Today and Tomorrow – Improving general practice by working differently –2012

According to this report, general practices need to develop ways of working with patients to help them improve their health rather than simply treating their “episodic illness”.  Improved information and communications in practices is needed, developing shared decision-making and self care strategies to help educate patients into taking care of their own health.

Helping People Help Themselves – 2011

The Health Foundation has produced this literature review to respond to the questions and challenges of clinicians wanting to appraise the benefits of self-management support.

This review of more than 550 pieces of high quality research suggests that it is worthwhile to support self-management, in particular through focusing on behaviour change and supporting self-efficacy.

Making the Case for the Self Care of Minor Ailments – 2009

Research looking at ways to drive self care in the population and reasons why people choose to seek help for their minor ailments. 


How to Drive Growth in Self Care – 2008

The Nielsen Company partnered with the Association of the European Self-medication Industry (AESGP) in this global research project. The objective was to better understand consumer attitudes towards key aspects of self care


Self Care Aware: Joining up Self Care in the NHS – 2007

JUSC is a strategy to improve the interface between primary care and the community. This will ensure that service demand is efficiently managed, actively supporting the individual’s own ability to combine self care, when possible, with primary care, when needed.


A Picture of Health – 2005

A national consumer survey into people’s experience of everyday ailments and health conditions such as colds, headaches, allergies, indigestion and muscle aches, and how they deal with them. 

The findings offer a fascinating insight into how we manage our everyday health and in particular our preference for looking after ourselves as far as we can.