Exercise, Food, Health, Illness, The big 4 0

Is A Health MOT At 40 Really Worth It?

This was supposed to be a photo of just me but she refused to get out of the shot 🙂

“Have you considered eating just one square of chocolate and saving the rest?” She asked.

My answer was swift, succinct and emphatic.


Oh, wait, maybe she wasn’t really asking me so much as suggesting this might be a way forward?

I get it now.

And if my will-power hadn’t been disappearing at the same rate as sleep in the last few years I might be willing to give it a go but, as it stands, I think a Plan B is needed.

Luckily, the lovely health care assistant I saw during the dreaded “midlife” *cry* MOT at my GP surgery had some other suggestions – including healthier, energy-boosting snacks.


Like most people, I imagine, I only really go to the doctor when I’m ill – and sometimes not even then. The thought of going for a general health check, offered free to those over 40, felt a bit alien. I’d also read several stories about a study which suggested there were only “marginal benefits”.

Still, while I feel like I’m in pretty good health at the moment, I am an older mum, there’s no getting away from that, and I want to make sure I’m around for Freya as long as possible.

What harm could having a quick check do?

The big thing I was worried about was my weight. If you calculate my BMI I’m technically obese but it’s not like I don’t know. I have scales and a mirror. I felt being told exactly how much I need to lose might actually be more than a little discouraging, especially as I’m working on it (I run, walk a lot and chase Freya about most days). As it happened though, aside from the chocolate advice, it was all really positive.

healthcheck-1I went for the blood test and then two weeks later followed up with a 30-minute appointment.

Right away she started off with good news.

“Your cholesterol levels are lovely and low,” she said with a smile.

I felt myself relax a bit.

We then talked about my veggie diet, lifestyle choices and exercise before I had to hop on the scales, have my waist measured and my height checked.

I had warned her that I knew my weight would be an issue and she confirmed that was the case but rather than make me feel horrible and self-conscious we chatted through the causes of my over-eating (which I know is a complete luxury) and ways I might look to improve it.

She then calculated my risk of a heart attack in the next 10-years, which came out at 1.24%, which sounded pretty good to me, and told me I could be “quietly pleased”. I know it’s not a guarantee of good health and a long life but I felt like if anything had been especially wrong I would have known and could work on it, like I am doing (slowly) with my weight.

I came out smiling, which is more than I can say for when I went in.

What do you think? Are general health checks worth it?


20 thoughts on “Is A Health MOT At 40 Really Worth It?”

  1. It sounds worth it because it made you feel better about yourself. It is good you have a veggie diet. I might consider it one day.
    I had eaten 8 squares of chocolate before reading this. I shall stop now. I am probably also obese according to the BMI. Definitely overweight.


    1. Hehe, there’s no way I can not eat the entire bar. I’m not a fan of BMI as it doesn’t take into account muscle weight. Not that I’m suggesting mine is muscle rather than fat but I know some people who would be considered obese who are actually proper fit.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t even know these were a thing – can you just go to the doctors and ask for one then?
    It’s good that everything was mainly positive though, I do think it’s important to keep a check of things as early as possible.


    1. Yes, I think you should have had a letter from your doctor. My slightly older friends told me about it as I’d never heard of it either. You can ask for it, according to the NHS website.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Absolutely worth it! Here, in Canada, we have something like that every year or every three (depending on age and health) right from childhood – of course, our health insurance is different so it makes it much more attainable for everyone… but it is really nice to not only check in where you are in the general scheme of things but also aids in prevention – catching things before they get serious. 🙂


    1. Oh really? We have the checks up until we start school and then it seems to stop until you hit the big 4 0, unless you’re ill. I guess it wouldn’t seem so strange if we had them all the time.


  4. Hi Tara, here in Greece annual health checks are the norm, but it’s not a habit we have ever gotten into. My husband is a touch older than me and when I reached forty we both said we were going to get a health check, several years later and with my husbands fiftieth looming next week we still haven’t got around to it.

    The crazy thing is I think it’s an excellent idea. I really want to know what my cholesterol is, and although I do monitor my blood pressure at home I would like it done properly, but we never get around to it… This winter we really must!

    Is there anyone, apart from my Mum, who eats just one square of chocolate?



    1. I had the same conversation with a friend recently but she says she can just have a square because it’s so rich. My tolerance must be high because I can still eat the bar 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. They are good……but the cynic in me suspects they’re in preparation for giving the private sector an indication of how much of a financial ‘risk’ a given practice might be in a potential takeover. If NHS England comes up with an idea which I think this is one of them then personally I’m highly sceptical of the reasons behind it.


  6. Hi Tara I had a health check for my 40th and found it really useful. I am quite slight so had always been a bit “laissez-faire” about exercise and my diet, however, I discovered my cholesterol was high and my muscle mass was low, so came out with an agenda to fix my diet and do some strengthening exercises. 10 years on and just shy of my 50th I am about to book one again. As for a chocolate a square is never enough!


    1. That does sound really useful. One of my friends found they were borderline diabetic so it’s helped them too. I hope you get on ok at your next one.


  7. I’m so happy you had a good positive experience. I’m wondering how she calculated your heart attack risk? I believe annual check-ups are important to monitor things but for your peace of mind too. If I hadn’t gone to my check up this last year I wouldn’t have found out that I have Hypothyroidism. Now I take a hormone every morning and all is well.


    1. That does sound like a positive check-up, glad you’re well. She asked me a series of questions about lifestyle (drinking, smoking), diet and exercise and then the computer calculated it. It’s not an exact science, I’m sure, but it was nice to know all the same.

      Liked by 1 person

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