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Over 40s health check to include dementia advice

Guidance on reducing risk will be given in surgeries and community programmes

Mark Gould

Monday, 18 June 2018

People over 40 in England will now be given help and advice on ways to reduce the risk of dementia as part of their NHS Health Check.

Public Health England (PHE) chief executive Duncan Selbie says the current Health Check advice, which focuses on reducing the risk of cardio-vascular disease, by maintaining their social life, keeping mentally and physically active and stopping smoking is also effective in reducing the risk of dementia. "What’s good for the heart is good for the brain," PHE says.

The planned roll-out follows a small pilot conducted by PHE, with the help of Alzheimer's Research UK and the Alzheimer's Society, which led to both charities calling for it to become mandatory.

New PHE figures for the last five years show that over 14 million people (91% of the eligible population) have been offered an NHS Health Check and almost 7 million (48.7% of those offered) have had the check.

It is estimated that over 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK with little public understanding of how it’s possible to reduce the risk.

Mr Selbie said: "The NHS Health Check is one of the largest public health prevention programmes in the world with almost 7 million in the last five years having benefited from a check, and it’s reaching the people where it’s most needed with the greatest numbers in the most disadvantaged areas. This success is down to local councils delivering and they should be proud of this achievement.

"It’s free and fast, and effective - just 15 minutes that could add years to your life."

Minister for Public Health Steve Brine said: "Early detection and prevention are vital to the health of our nation and our programmes in this area are among the most ambitious in the world.

"Our aim is to keep everyone as healthy as possible, for as long as possible, which is why we are introducing advice on dementia prevention as part of our free health checks."

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