SHOPPERS in Cowley can get a free mini health check to spot early warning signs of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and dementia.

Templars Square Shopping Centre is partnering with Oxfordshire County Council’s Public Health team this weekend for the second year running to offer a day of NHS health MOTS on Saturday.

The initiative, which launched last year, saw more than a hundred shoppers take up the offer which includes a blood pressure check, measuring the risk of cardiovascular problems and assessing BMI, which uses someone's height and weight to judge whether their weight is healthy.

ALSO READ: 'People have died waiting for mental health treatment', say union leaders

Centre manager Paul Jackson, who will celebrate his 54th birthday the day after the checks, said: “I would consider my health and lifestyle to be pretty good overall. Like most people, diet and nutrition could be improved but being a regular runner, playing squash and attending a local gym there is a good balance. However, without a regular health MOT it’s difficult to know where improvements are really needed."

He added: “These checks give someone an insight into what is happening inside their body. While someone may look healthy on the outside, it doesn’t necessarily mean their body is healthy on the inside."

ALSO READ: Help to run Oxfordshire's health watchdog

Since 2013 more than 190,000 NHS Health Check invitations have been sent out in Oxfordshire, with 95,485 taking up the offer, meaning half have not attended.

NHS Health Checks are funded by Oxfordshire County Council’s Public Health team, which exists to improve the health of local people and protect them from preventable health issues.

The free NHS Health Checks are designed to spot early warnings of stroke, kidney and heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and dementia.

Ansaf Azhar, Director of Public Health, said: “We’ve actually done reasonably well compared to figures nationally. But we’re not complacent. We’ve identified there’s a definite drop among men and those from ethnic minority groups so it’s really important we reach out to them and this initiative is a great way of doing that.

ALSO READ: Mum and baby group 'with a difference' turns one

"Women have always been encouraged to talk about their health issues while men tend to ignore the symptoms until they are physically impacting on their own health so it’s a case of trying to figure out how we can get people to think about the benefits of health checks and helping us spot early warnings of stroke, kidney and heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and dementia.”

NHS Health Checks are available to anyone aged between 40 and 74 who has not already been diagnosed with an existing cardiovascular condition.

Every person will be given a traffic light warning grade. Red for danger, meaning a visit to a GP is strongly advised, amber for caution and green for all clear.

ALSO READ: Online map reveals all the medical research studies in Oxfordshire

The mini health checks that will be available at Templars Square will take 15 minutes and be available from 10am to 4pm, located down Pound Way. Anyone signing up will be entered into a raffle to win shopping centre vouchers worth £50 or a month’s free membership at the centre’s Feel Fit Gym.