More than 650 lives could be saved each year if NHS Health Checks were offered across England, the government has claimed.
A Public Health England (PHE) review has shown that checking 40-74 year-olds blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and lifestyle could identify problems earlier and prevent 650 deaths, 1,600 heart attacks and 4,000 cases of diabetes each year.
Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt has called for patients to start thinking more seriously about their health.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "We are an ageing population and thinking about our health early is vital to living a long and prosperous life.
“I’d like to see all 40-74 year olds taking up this potentially life-saving opportunity. And I’d like to see the NHS and local authorities encouraging people in their area to get involved.”
Between 2010 and 2020 the number of people aged 65 and over is expected to rise by 27 per cent with those aged 85 and over rising by 44 per cent.
In June Hunt also exposed the local variation in early death rates through ‘Longer Lives’, a new Public Health England (PHE) website which allows local people to see easily how their areas perform on early deaths from the major four killers, like heart disease and cancer.
Primary care trusts began offering NHS Health Checks in 2009 and “good progress” has been made, according to a government statement.
However, they also claim that access has been “patchy” with some areas facing barriers and challenges to maximising the impact of the programme.
PHE will develop a research and analysis programme that aims to support the delivery of the programme both nationally and locally.