Loughborough University's Dr James King (second left) contributed to the report.

Cost-of-living crisis shown to be negatively impacting the nation’s health and wellbeing

The nation’s physical and mental health is being significantly impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, according to a new report commissioned by Nuffield Health.

Launched in the Houses of Parliament at a roundtable meeting hosted by Kim Leadbeater (MP for Batley & Spen), with contributions by Dr James King, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, School of Sport, Health, Exercise Sciences,  ‘The State of the Nation’s Health and Wellbeing in 2023’ report has found that: 

  • Almost two in three people (63%) believed the cost of living crisis is negatively affecting the nation’s physical and mental health
  • Over one in three people (35%) reported that their physical health had deteriorated in the last year
  • Nearly one in four people (23%) rated their mental health as poor, while one in three reported that their mental health has got worse over the last year.
  • Almost one in three people (32%) said that exercise improves their mental health, with over a quarter (27%) saying that exercise lifts their mood and helps them feel less anxious or depressed.
  • 76% of people do not reach the NHS recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week
  • Almost two thirds of those aged between 25–34 stated that cost was a barrier to exercise, compared to under two in five of those aged over 55.

Following the publication of the report, Dr King said: “I hope that this report raises awareness of the impact that the cost-of-living crisis is having on people's physical and mental health, and to encourage people in positions of influence to think about how they can implement policies to try and alleviate the impact that it is having.

“We have got decades of high-quality data telling us that if you're regularly physically active, you're health is going to be better across your lifespan. The evidence is clear. But the problem is that the majority of people in society are not active enough to benefit their health.

“You can educate people about its importance, but if circumstances around them – such as the cost-of-living crisis – mean that they haven't got the money, facilities, or access to opportunities, then people can't actually engage in physical activity.”

To read the report in full, visit the Nuffield Health website.