Within the UK, people consider their overall health to be among the poorest of the 13 countries surveyed in the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Trust and Health, with the cost-of-living crisis seen as the number one societal factor worsening health.
Institutional leaders — from healthcare providers to CEOs — should see this tension as an opportunity to address health inequalities, leverage the dispersion of authority, invest in employee health and optimise business around health.
Health advice from friends and family is on par with health experts and scientists
More than three quarters of people trust friends and family to tell the truth about health issues and how best to protect the health of the public. This source of health information received the biggest jump in trust over the last year.
Only 3 percent of respondents define “being healthy” as purely physical
People are thinking about their health in broad terms, with a range of factors contributing to feeling healthy. Most illuminating is the importance of mental health alongside physical health.
The cost-of-living crisis is seen to be the number one societal factor worsening health, with 71% of respondents in the UK indicating that inflation – which is the highest in the G7 – is negatively impacting their health.
It also risks worsening socioeconomic health inequalities: 58% of respondents on lower incomes, who say there is a gap between how well they’re taking care of their health and how well they should be, consider cost the main barrier to closing the gap, compared to just 39% of high income earners.
Navigating an evolving healthcare crisis
Address health inequalities
Cost is the number one barrier keeping people from being as healthy as they want to be. Consider programs and partnerships that will help people deal with up-front costs and increase healthcare accessibility.
Leverage the dispersion of authority
Friends and family have grown as trusted on health matters as domain experts. Rather than fighting this trend, incorporate it into your approach.
Invest in employee health
Employees benefit greatly when their employers invest in their wellbeing. Make this part of your talent strategy, especially for early career and front-line team members.
Optimise business around health
Health has a bottom-line impact on consumer decisions for businesses across all sectors. Make health central to your products and business operations.