Just one-in-six people claim to be unhealthy, study finds

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

State of the nation: two-thirds of people in the UK are considered to be overweight
State of the nation: two-thirds of people in the UK are considered to be overweight

Related tags: Nutrition

Many UK consumers deny they are part of the nation’s obesity epidemic – a problem recently dubbed as serious a threat as terrorism – new data released by Mintel has revealed.

Just one in six (15%) of Brits considered themselves to be unhealthy, the survey found.

In contrast, half of the nation (50%) described their general health as either ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ healthy, while 6% claimed to be strict with themselves to ensure they are as healthy as possible, according to the Mintel study.

It flies in the face of government figures that two-thirds of people in the UK are considered to be overweight or obese.

Furthermore, charity Diabetes UK this week estimated that more than 4M Brits now suffer from diabetes, an increase of 65% over the past decade.

Less controversially, one-third (33%) of those surveyed by Mintel said that they go through phases of being healthy and getting into bad habits, while 14% admitted they don’t put much effort or thought into staying healthy.

Gender gap

The research also found a gender gap in how much effort is put into staying healthy. Just 10% of women said they don’t put much effort or thought into staying healthy, compared with 19% of men.

Ina Mitskavets, senior consumer and lifestyles analyst at Mintel, said: “Most Britons take a balanced approach to their health. Very few people admit to being strict with themselves when it comes to their health, with the majority of adults allowing themselves to get into bad habits at least some of the time.

“Furthermore, our research shows that women are more likely than men to follow healthy habits most of the time.

“Some of this can be explained by the greater caretaking and nurturing role women tend to assume in their families and a bigger focus on their appearance.”

Last month, the chief medical officer, professor Dame Sally Davies, warned that obesity should be considered a “national risk”​ to Britain’s future in the same way as terrorism.

Her annual report claimed that up to half of women of childbearing age are overweight or obese.

Sugar app

The government kicked off the new year with a new Change4Life campaign focused on the north-west of England. Via the use of a free ‘SugarSmart’ mobile app, the campaign encourages parents to take control of their children’s sugar intake.

Currently, 23% of four to five-year-olds and 34% of 10 to 11-year-olds are overweight or obese in the north-west, the government said.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC), meanwhile, has called for mandatory sugar reduction targets to be a central plank of the government’s childhood obesity strategy, which is now expected in February.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the BRC, said: “Mandatory targets avoid the problem with voluntary schemes where only some companies participate.

“It means we see change across the board and those companies that are more progressive in removing sugar are not penalised.”

Related topics: Legal, Obesity

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