Free NHS health MOTs for the over-40s cut the risk of a heart attack or stroke, research shows.
The study, based on data from 127,891 participants, found that over a six-year period those who attended a health MOT were more likely to have lost weight, lowered blood pressure and given up smoking than those who did not.
All three are major causes of cardiovascular disease, which claims 150,000 lives in Britain each year.
Lead researcher Samah Alageel said the results show the
NHS Health Check programme carries a potential for reducing cardiovascular risk
through the early assessment and management of risk.
Recent statistics show less than half those eligible for the free checks take up the offer. Around 7.15 million people have had a free health check since 2013 despite 15 million being eligible, according to the article in The Sun.
The 20-minute check can pick up early signs of stroke, kidney or heart disease, type 2 diabetes and dementia.
NHS England said identifying people with an irregular heartbeat or high blood pressure and giving them treatment would help to prevent dangerous blood clots which could lead to strokes.
If more people attended their health checks, the number of people having a stroke or other heart problems would be reduced, potentially preventing thousands of cases of vascular dementia, it added.