A CAMPAIGN that urges more people over the age of 40 to undergo free NHS health checks has won the support of former Saints rugby league captain Chris Joynt.
St Helens Council – which is now responsible for public health in the borough - has teamed up with the Steve Prescott Foundation to publicise the tests.
Health leaders stress early detection of risks can make a huge difference to a person’s overall health.
They believe catching the warning signs can prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.
Smoking, inactivity, obesity, blood pressure, blood fats and excess alcohol all contribute to potential poor health.
And doctors remain particularly concerned about the rates of smoking, drinking and obesity across St Helens.
More than one fifth of adults smoke and rates of alcohol-related deaths are seventh worst in England for women and eighth worst for men.
Everyone in the 40-74 age group will be invited for a check by their GP every five years.
Joynt, an ambassador for the SPF, headed down to the Spinney Medical Centre in Thatto Heath, to promote the campaign.
He said: “It is so important for people to be proactive rather than reactive. This scheme will raise awareness and save people's lives, it is so important that everyone takes up this offer."
Councillor Gareth Cross, who oversees public health, said the checks are straightforward.
“They include a range of questions about your general health, lifestyle and family history. Simple measurements such as height, weight and blood pressure will be taken to look for signs, symptoms and risk factors for a number of diseases.”