Online Heart Age Test helps give early warning of heart attack and stroke risk
Slimming World is backing Public Health England’s (PHE) latest campaign to raise awareness of heart health and reduce the number of people dying from heart attacks and strokes each year.
As part of the Heart Age campaign, PHE – in collaboration with NHS England, the British Heart Foundation and with support from the Stroke Association – is calling for adults across the country to take a free online Heart Age Test, which will provide an immediate estimation of their ‘heart age’. If someone’s heart age is higher than their actual age, they are at an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke – the two main forms of cardiovascular disease.
More than 84,000 people die from a heart attack or stroke each year in England and one in four of these deaths are in adults under the age of 75, of which up to 50 a day could be prevented if adults made lifestyle and behaviour changes to improve their heart health.
Slimming World is supporting the campaign to raise awareness of how one of those lifestyle changes that could be made to improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease is losing weight, and is offering exclusive discounts for new members who take the Heart Age Test.
The Heart Age Test asks a number of simple physical and lifestyle questions and provides an immediate estimation of someone’s heart age, as well as a prediction of the risk of having a heart attack or stroke by a certain age. It also gives suggestions on lifestyle changes to help people reduce their heart age, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising regularly and cutting back on alcohol intake.
The Heart Age Test has been completed more than 1.9 million times and four out of five (78%) people have a heart age higher than their actual age. Results show that 34% of respondents have a heart age five years greater than their actual age, and 14% have a heart age at least 10 years more than their actual age.
At Slimming World, we support people to lose weight and manage their health. Slimming World was the first weight management company to actively work with the NHS to tackle obesity through our Slimming World on Referral scheme. Our partnership with health professionals has provided hundreds of thousands of overweight patients with effective, long-lasting, community-based weight-loss support since 2001
Before Dave Lancaster joined Slimming World in 2016, he weighed more than 34st and was on medication for a long list of health problems, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnoea. At just 43, Dave had a heart age of a 55-year-old.
Since then, thanks to making changes to his diet and activity levels, Dave has lost more than 20st and no longer needs to take any medication. His blood sugar reading now displays no type 2 diabetes symptoms and his doctor said his blood pressure is in the range of a man 20 years younger. Now 45, Dave’s heart age is 46 – a fall of nine years.
Call Centre Manager Dave, from Warwick in the West Midlands, says: “At my heaviest, I found it difficult to walk to the end of my road and I was close to becoming a recluse. It felt as though as I was getting bigger and bigger, my world was gradually shrinking. Now I’ve got my life back and I couldn’t be happier. The world isn’t shrinking anymore; it’s getting bigger and bigger by the day!”
Jenny Caven, Slimming World’s Head of External Affairs, says: “The latest statistics show that around 19,200 deaths per year – the equivalent to 50 deaths a day or one every 30 minutes – could be avoided if people made lifestyle and behaviour changes to improve their heart health. Knowing their heart age helps adults to find out whether they are at risk and consider what they can do to reduce this risk.
“At Slimming World, we support people to lose weight and manage their health. Slimming World was the first weight management company to actively work with the NHS to tackle obesity through our Slimming World on Referral scheme. Our partnership with health professionals has provided hundreds of thousands of overweight patients with effective, long-lasting, community-based weight-loss support since 2001.
“People might be hesitant to embark on a weight-loss plan because they fear that in order to lose weight they’ll have to go hungry or commit to excessive amounts of activity. However, with Slimming World’s Extra Easy eating plan, based on the principles of energy density and satiety, members enjoy a wide variety of foods and a balanced diet that is both filling and low in energy density so they lose weight free from hunger. Members are also supported to increase their activity levels at their own pace and in a way they enjoy. Members who join Slimming World find a community of people with whom they share ideas and goals to become slim for life.”
Professor Jamie Waterall, National Lead for cardiovascular disease at Public Health England said: “Millions are at risk of cardiovascular disease but don’t know it, putting themselves at real risk of suffering ill-health or dying younger. Knowing your heart age is a simple way of finding out whether you’re at risk of a heart attack or stroke. By making important lifestyle changes you can reduce your risk before it’s too late.
“Taking a Heart Age Test is something you can easily do at home, but it could be one of the most important things you do to help you live a healthy longer life.”
Public Health England’s Heart Age campaign will run until 30th September. Adults are encouraged to search ‘heart age’ to take the free online test or visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk/heartage, where anyone who’d like to reduce their heart age by losing weight with Slimming World can take advantage of an offer for free membership when they commit to 12 weeks’ support at Slimming World, saving £10/€18, or save £35/€45 on three months’ membership when they join Slimming World Online.
For more information on this press release contact Amy Williams on 01773 546170 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Matt Kearney, national clinical director for cardiovascular disease prevention, at NHS England, said: “The heart age test is a simple and effective online device with the potential to help millions of people.
“The long term plan for the NHS will prioritise saving lives through improved protection against cardiovascular disease, and increased public understanding of the risks of stroke and heart disease will mean fewer people have to face these devastating conditions.”
TV Doctor and GP, Dr Hilary Jones said: “With 50 preventable deaths every day of people under the age of 75, this is serious. It’s vital that people know their heart health and take steps to reduce their risk of stroke and heart attack.
“As well as obesity, poor diet and a lack of exercise, high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but these are all things that people can change, and they can change them now.”
The Heart Age Test is an online assessment for anyone over 30 which allows a person to input basic physical and lifestyle-related information and provides an immediate estimation of their ‘heart age’. The test is designed to prompt people who may look outwardly healthy to think about the health of their inner organs as well. It can be accessed on desktop, tablet or mobile phone and can be embedded on partner websites. For instructions on how to embed please email
Public Health England is committed to tackling cardiovascular disease through our joint working with NHS England on the NHS RightCare Cardiovascular Disease Prevention pathway. The programme, which helps people detect and manage their risk of heart disease, is a core part of the NHS RightCare Cardiovascular Disease Prevention pathway. Last year 1.3million adults over 40 received a check.
PHE exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities. It does this through advocacy, partnerships, world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. . Follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk
 The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) Global Burden of Disease Study Estimates 2016: https://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-compare/#
 European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2017 edition, p. 183: http://www.ehnheart.org/images/CVD-statistics-report-August-2017.pdf