Just 15% of Brits think they are unhealthy, yet few follow health regimes

The majority of Britons think they are healthy, yet only a small percentage follow a set health regime, according to new research.

A report by market analyst Mintel found that 50% of Brits view themselves as either “somewhat” or “very” healthy and only 15% think they are “somewhat” or “very” unhealthy.

However, the research also reveals that just 6% say they are strict about being as healthy as possible. Nearly half, 46%, of respondents stated that they lead a healthy lifestyle “most of the time”.

A third, 33%, said they go through phases of being healthy, before slipping into bad habits again, while 14% stated that they “don’t put much effort or thought into staying healthy”.

Women are more likely than men to make an effort to be healthy, with only 10% of women saying they “don’t put much effort or thought” into staying healthy, compared to 19% of men.

Appearance was the top reason for women to try to be healthier, with 54% naming this as the most likely motivator. The top reason for men to try to be healthier was “feeling generally unfit”.

However, the genders are in agreement on the best ways to remain healthy. Across both groups, 64% said exercising regularly was most important for staying healthy.

61% said it was not smoking or limiting the amount you smoke, and 54% said it was eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

However, respondents did not necessarily act on these opinions, with 47% actually getting regular exercise, 52% not smoking or limiting how much they smoke, and 43% eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Ina Mitskavets, senior consumer and lifestyles analyst at Mintel, said: “Even though people know what they need to do to stay healthy, many struggle to achieve their healthy goals, owing to a lack of time and/or money.

“The biggest deficit is in the amount of exercise people think they should be doing and what they actually do. To address people’s lack of time, fitness brands and operators could focus on the benefits of intense, short bursts of exercise that can more easily fit into busy routines.”

The research also revealed some differences between different age groups. More than half, 57%, of respondents aged 45-54 said not drinking alcohol or reducing how much you drink is important to a healthy lifestyle, compared to 45% of 25-34-year-olds.