More than half of the respondents to a Greater Manchester health snapshot survey have admitted that they need to do more physical activity in order to improve their health and wellbeing.

The Taking Charge campaign asked the region’s residents, carers and 100,000 public sector employees to share their struggles and successes in making healthy lifestyle choices, as the region takes responsibility for a £6 billion health and social care budget.

Residents who took part in the campaign suggested more than 6,400 ideas and comments or voted on other people’s comments either via an online workshop or via face-to-face engagement, and the survey results provide an insightful snapshot of the attitudes towards health and wellbeing across the region.

We previously reported how 90% of GM residents keen to improve health and wellbeing and the latest stats now reveal that 55% of respondents admitted that they are not physically active enough, while other common problems included a lack of regular sleep, poor diets and too much day-to-day stress impacting a person’s general health and wellbeing.

In contrast, 41% of residents in Greater Manchester consider themselves to be healthy or very healthy with 45% of people citing that they would like to be healthier, either through improved diet or increased physical activity.

According to Wendy Meredith, Greater Manchester’s Director of Population Health Transformation, the results are a valuable insight into the current health and wellbeing of the region’s population.

Wendy said: “We have been delighted with the number of people that have taken the time to take part in our snapshot survey – the results really will provide us with a great overview of the attitudes and experiences of Greater Manchester residents when it comes to living well.

“The results will now be fully incorporated into our long-term plans for health and social care delivery in Greater Manchester and it’s great to see first-hand the scale of positive actions being taken by people throughout the region.

“However, there are also clear areas for concern and it is now our job to really tackle the blockages that are preventing people from living healthy lives, and work to remove them from day-to-day life so that we can have a truly transformative effect on the health and wellbeing of the region’s 2.8 million residents.”

In all, more than 50,000 people viewed either the campaign website or related materials on the Health and Social Care Partnership home site, while a further 6,500 face-to-face contacts were made via community roadshow events and focus groups, organised by Key 103 and the community and  voluntary sector and Healthwatch partnership respectively.

The survey results are already providing an invaluable snapshot of people’s perceptions of health, with 91% of respondents identifying some feature of their health and wellbeing that they would like to improve.

The majority of comments, which came from all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester, revolved around seven key themes explaining what restricts an individual’s ability to take charge of their own health:

  • Resources and time (not enough time or money)
  • Access to the right services and information (either too much information of too little)
  • Access to the right facilities such as gyms and parks
  • Self-awareness and belief (don’t realise they are making unhealthy choices)
  • Personal confidence and motivation (don’t have the desire to stop making unhealthy choices)
  • Social norms (behaviour is accepted by peers)
  • Support networks (insufficient access to groups that can offer support)

The feedback will now be used to help Health and Social Care bosses tackle some of the worst health outcomes in the country, by:

  • revealing insight into what the people of Greater Manchester believe blocks or enables healthy choices
  • helping health and care officials to design services that can deliver the greatest and fastest improvement in the region’s health and wellbeing
  • identifying great work in the region that can be celebrated and developed at scale across the region