Brits and Irish most likely in Europe to consider themselves overweight

People in the UK and Ireland are more likely to consider themselves overweight than in any other European country, according to new data from market analyst Nielsen. 

According to the company’s recent Global Health and Wellness Survey, 62% of Irish and 60% of British people say they are at least “a little” overweight. 22% of Brits view themselves as “somewhat” overweight. 

52% of people consider themselves overweight across Europe as a whole. Consumers in Poland and Russia are the least likely to see themselves as overweight, with the figure at 35% and 40% respectively in the two countries. 

While Brits are the second most likely in Europe to consider themselves overweight, they rank only 17th of the 32 European countries in the survey, in terms of actively trying to lose weight. 

46% of Briton said they were trying to lose weight, compared to 51% three years ago. Of those trying to lose weight, 82% are taking the approach of changing their diet; down from 84% three years go. 

Chocolate and other sugary products are the most popular foodstuffs to cut back on, with 72% choosing to do this. 

70% are cutting down on fat and 53% are eating more fresh and natural food, while 43% are attempting to control their weight by exercising portion control. 37% said they were trying to eat less processed food, while 9% are on a low carb/high fat diet and 11% following some other type of diet. 

The three most important health attributes in food for UK consumes are low/no sugar, 31%, low salt/sodium, 29%, and no artificial flavors or colourings, 28% 

66% said they were using exercise to lose weight, a decrease from 72% three years ago. The percentage using diet pills, bars or snacks to lose weight has grown from 3% to 7%. 

Nielsen’s UK head of business and retailer insight Mike Watkins said: “Not only are fewer Britons trying to lose weight, it seems they’re slowly becoming increasingly reliant on easier fixes at the expense of harder work such as changing diet and exercise.”