Almost a third of MPs (29%) admit stress adversely affects their health every week.

The health and lifestyle choices of Britain’s Parliamentarians are highlighted in a survey by Nuffield Health, the leading not-for-profit healthcare organization.

A quarter of the 100 MPs questioned, said they feel stressed a lot of the time, with women MPs almost twice as likely to admit to stress than their male colleagues.

The vast majority said they worked long hours (89%) and a quarter said they got less than six hours sleep a night – the recommended level is between seven and nine hours per night.

Dr Andrew Jones, Nuffield Health’s Managing Director, Wellbeing, said: “We know workplace stress can have a damaging effect on employees’ wellbeing both at work and at home. It also places a massive burden on businesses, and impacts upon productivity. Nuffield Health helps companies tackle the causes of stress by providing bespoke wellbeing services to ensure a more contented workplace.

“Academic research we commissioned has revealed how meeting the Government guidelines could save more than £6billion as it improves mental health as well as decreases the chance of obesity.”

Almost half (46 per cent) of parliamentarians fail to meet the Government’s recommendation of two and a half hours of moderate activity each week.

And nine in ten MPs (86 per cent) of those questioned admit that they exceed NHS daily calorie guidelines at least one day a week – with 71 per cent overeating up to four days a week. And a half (49 per cent) have embarked on diets in the past 12 months.

A fifth (21 per cent) of female MPs exceeds the Department of Health’s safe weekly alcohol intake guideline of 21 units. And the same (19 per cent) of male MPs consume more than the 28-unit suggested safe limit.

Asked whether they thought their lifestyle was healthy or unhealthy, four in ten MPs (41 per cent) said unhealthy.

Fabian Hamilton, MP, said: “Like many, the job of MPs makes it difficult for us to balance the pressure of work with the exercise and diet that are needed to live in a healthy way.

“Despite this, in recent years my circumstances have encouraged me to take responsibility for improving my health by increased physical activity through regular cycling, eating more healthily and managing stress.

“I welcome this study and, in my view, it is important that those of my colleagues, who do not already do so, take similar action.”

The Nuffield Health study was carried out by Dods Parliamentary Service. A total of 100 MPs were questioned. Of these, 40 were Conservative MPs, 47 Labour MPs, nine Liberal Democrat MPs and four from other parties. A total of 79 male MPs took part and 21 female members.