YORKSHIRE people are eating, drinking and smoking themselves into ill-health, according to a report by a York-based health firm.
People in the county are "woefully below the ideal" when it comes to healthy lifestyles, says research by Benenden Health, and it is bad habits and poor diets which are putting lives at risk.
According to the data "Mr and Mrs Average" in Yorkshire routinely fail to eat enough fruit and veg, drink enough water, get enough sleep, or take enough exercise.
At the same time, the most people in the county also drink and smoke more than is good for them.
The company's Dr John Giles said that in the light of an unprecedented amount of discussion on the challenges facing the NHS, people should take more responsibility for their own health.
He added: “At a time when modern medicine is making consistent major breakthroughs to give us longer lives and treat illnesses that even 20 years ago were fatal, the UK population appears to be doing everything in its power to make those extra years as unhealthy and miserable as possible.
“We cannot continually rely on the NHS to pick up the pieces of our below average approach to looking after ourselves: this laissez-faire approach is massively overburdening our country’s health service.”
The company is calling the situation a "wilful health crisis", saying most people know what they need to do to stay healthy but chose to ignore the guidelines believing the NHS will "pick up the pieces".
National guidelines say adults should eat five portions of fruit and veg a day, drink up to two litres of water, and get seven to eight hours sleep. Men and women in Yorkshire are falling short in all of these categories, and also fail to get their recommended 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and two sessions of muscle strengthening exercise each week, with the result that average body mass indexes are above the healthy range of 18.5-24.9 and many are at risk of heart disease and type two diabetes because of their weight.
But despite the failures in Yorkshire people's lifestyle choices, the county actually ranks third in the country for healthy living - with only Londoners and people in the East of the country making better choices.
According to Benenden, Mr Average in Yorkshire eats 3.3 portions of his ‘5 a day’; has a BMI of 26.0; drinks just over a litre of water a day; sleeps for 6.6 hours a night; does 73 minutes of cardio a week and 1.6 muscle strengthening work outs; smokes 4 cigarettes a day; and drinks 14.7 units of alcohol a week
They say Mrs Average in Yorkshire eats 3.5 portions of her ‘5 a day’; has a BMI of 26.8; drinks 853ml of water a day; sleeps for 6.5 hours a night; does 80 minutes of cardio a week and 1.3 muscle strengthening work outs; smokes 3 cigarettes a day; and drinks 9.1 units of alcohol a week.