MINI joins health drive with free Mini NHS Health Checks for staff
MINI Plant Oxford is getting behind the drive for people to stay fit and healthy by hosting a series of Mini NHS Health Checks for staff.
Workers at the Cowley plant will be encouraged to undergo a free health ‘road test’ during sessions held over five days later this month.
This is in collaboration with the BMW Group Global healthy heart campaign which shares information on nutrition, exercise and heart health.
NHS Health Checks are funded by Oxfordshire County Council’s Public Health team, which seeks to improve the health of local people and protect them from preventable health issues – helping local residents live safe and healthy lives and play an active role in their communities.
The free NHS Health Checks are designed to spot early warnings of stroke, kidney and heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and dementia.
Running got MINI telecoms manager back on track
Signing up for a free Mini NHS Health Check will be Jason Field, who has worked at the plant for the past 31 years.
Jason, 47, is among those who health experts are particularly keen to target. Analysis of data collected in Oxfordshire shows a shortfall in men aged between 40 and 55 signing up for a health check, as well as those from ethnic minority groups.
The telecoms manager admitted he’d contacted his doctor’s surgery enquiring about a health check but never followed it through.
He’d previously kept fit managing his son’s football team but when that came to an end he allowed his exercise levels to drop.
“When I stopped doing the football I had two to three years of doing very little. I wasn’t playing any sport and could sense I was putting weight on,” said Jason.
“I just got to a point where I knew I was in that age group which was more at risk. I had to do something so I decided to take up running and started in February 2015.
“I went out with the plan to run for half-an-hour but after 10 minutes I was walking home red in the face. I obviously needed to slowly build it up so over the next few months I just extended the distance and tried to pick the speed up a little bit.
“I signed up for the Chalgrove 10K that May and, on the back of that, signed up for the Oxford Half Marathon in the October. I’ve not really looked back since then.”
Jason has just completed his second Milton Keynes Marathon and, with wife Tanya, also finds time to keep the family’s fleet of 21 classic cars in tip-top condition.
“Even just talking about the NHS Health Checks is enough to make me want to go and get it done,” said Jason. “I’ll be encouraging my colleagues at the plant to do the same.”
Get yourself checked out
Health checks are available to anyone aged between 40 and 74 who has not already been diagnosed with an existing cardiovascular condition.
Your GP surgery will automatically send out invitations once every five years, but if you haven’t had one, or didn’t respond to the invite, contact your surgery and make an appointment.
The full check will take around 20 minutes:
- You will be asked some simple questions about your family history, whether or not you smoke and how much alcohol you drink
- Your height, weight, sex, ethnicity and age will be recorded
- Your blood pressure will be taken
- A simple blood test will check your cholesterol level
- Your body mass index (BMI) will be calculated. BMI is a measure of whether you're a healthy weight for your height.
- Your level of risk of developing a cardiovascular condition (i.e. stroke, kidney and heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and dementia) will be calculated
The Mini NHS Health Checks at MINI Plant Oxford will take about five minutes and feature all of the above except a blood test.
Although the mini check is an excellent start to taking responsibility for your own health, the full check is the only way to properly assess your cardiovascular risk.
Every MINI Plant worker will be given a traffic light warning grade. Red for danger – meaning a visit to your GP in the near future is strongly advised – amber for caution and green for low risk.
Improve your long-term health and wellbeing
Since 2013 more than 190,000 health check invitations have been sent out in Oxfordshire, with 95,485 taking up the offer (50.4 per cent).
Over the same period nationally, NHS England said fewer than half of those eligible had taken up the invite – 7.15 million people from a possible 15 million.
Cllr Lawrie Stratford, Cabinet member for Public Health, said: “Health checks are a brilliant way for people to get an overview of their general health and a fast, effective method of finding out if there are some simple things they could be doing to improve their long-term health and wellbeing.
“The importance of NHS Health Checks should not be under-estimated and we welcome the support of MINI Plant Oxford in helping us to reach out to more people.
“These free mini checks are a great way of raising the profile about full NHS Health Checks. They help the local community to stay fit and healthy and enable the experts to spot early warnings of stroke, kidney and heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and dementia.”
For further information about free NHS Health Checks visit: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/nhshealthcheck