What does health and wellbeing really mean to people in the UK?

Published 28 May 2021 2 minute read

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We are feeling stressed in the UK and, thankfully, there is a growing awareness of the underlying mental and physical health issues that cause stress*.  But what do health and wellbeing really mean to people?

How do they maintain their wellness on a daily basis? And, how does this impact their overall levels of happiness?

Bupa wanted to understand what their customer needs were in relation to
wellbeing and also what role they should play in meeting these needs. By focusing in this way, Bupa ensure they develop propositions and products that are truly customer-centric. Bupa asked Further to help them surface the everyday challenges people face in this area, collaborating with them to develop insight they could use to inform the development of tools and strategies that would provide value to customers.


Bupa's purpose is to help people live longer, healthier, happier lives. Established in the UK in 1947, and now employing 80,000 people globally, Bupa is a leading provider of private healthcare, with around 15.7 million health insurance customers worldwide. The Bupa Customer Lab was set up in 2017 to ensure that Bupa remained at the forefront of health technology innovation for its customers.

We were tasked to explore what health and wellbeing really meant to Bupa’s target audience in the UK. We needed to identify the everyday practices and challenges that contributed to an individual’s sense of wellness. Given the nature of the subject matter, surfacing these behaviours and experiences meant developing a level of understanding and empathy beyond participant self-reports. We immersed ourselves in people’s lives to identify the potential touchpoints where Bupa could engage with, and nurture, their customers’ health and wellbeing objectives.

Key findings

People’s ideas about what contributes to, or undermines, their health and wellbeing are as individual as the people themselves. Those who had the best grasp on their health and wellbeing were individuals who recognised that their lives consisted of a balance between clinical guidelines (regarding exercise, diet,
etc) and social activities which ‘nourished the soul’.
The journey to better health and wellbeing has its peaks and troughs. Acknowledging that people make mistakes or face moments where they need to get ‘back on track’ without guilt is important. The research also identified ‘moments’ in people’s lives when this support would be most welcome

At Bupa, we put our customers at the heart of everything we do. Working with the team at Further,
and using their Together platform, we were able to interact with our customers and target audience in
new ways. We conceived a clever mix of quick response and sustained activities, using video and online
interaction, which meant we could dig deeper into people’s everyday behaviours and really understand what support systems would connect with
them and make a strong contribution to their feeling of wellbeing. 

Richard Cohen, Bupa Customer Lab.


During our research collaboration, we uncovered a number of ways that Bupa can nurture their customers’ needs and aspirations in this area, to support them achieve their health and wellbeing goals.

*In the past year (2018) 74% of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. The Mental Health Foundation’s study 2018.


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