January is here and for many people that means it’s time for some New Year’s resolutions. The annual gorge over the festive period sees many of us with slightly bigger waistlines than we had back in November. That’s why many of us will decide that it’s time to start eating more healthily and hit the gym more often.
However, best intentions are often just that – intentions – and New Year’s resolutions that involve weight loss are frequently abandoned.
Indeed, recent research from Aviva shows that more than a third of UK adults want to lose weight, but are eschewing the long-term lifestyle changes they need to make in order to accomplish their weight loss goals.
According to The Aviva Health Check UK Report, which was compiled using survey responses from 2,004 UK adults, less than half (43%) are a healthy weight.
Although over a third (36%) of the survey’s respondents said they wanted to lose weight or lower their Body Mass Index (BMI), just 16% indicated that they felt motivated to eat a more balanced diet and 13% exercise more regularly.
A surprising revelation in the report is the fact that 16% of UK adults said they exercise purely to compensate for over-eating rather than to afford the benefits that come from exercise.
Calories and Food Labels Are a Mystery
Aviva’s research also found that UK adults are in the dark when it comes to calorie consumption and food labels. Nearly three quarters (71%) said they have no idea how many calories they consume and almost a quarter (24%) admitted that they don’t understand food labels.
Of greater concern is the reality that just 22% of UK adults are getting their recommended five-a-day fruit and vegetables. Especially as the survey found that 32% eat snacks and 23% consume fizzy drinks every day.
Busy modern lifestyles are the reason why 27% of respondents don’t prepare healthy meals, while the cost of eating healthily was cited as a barrier by over half (51%).
It’s not all bad news, though, with 72% of UK adults saying that they exercise at least once a week. While this is below the recommended physical activity guidelines for adults, some exercise is still better than none.
But no exercise is what 17% of respondents admitted to doing, with this figure rising to 28% for obese people. When quizzed about the most common barriers to exercising regularly, 59% said it was too boring or hard work; 43% said they were often too tired; 41% said they didn’t have the time; and 42% said they didn’t ’now how much exercise they should do.
Talking about the survey’s findings, Dr Doug Wright, medical director for Aviva UK Health, said: “After the indulgence of Christmas, motivation to become fitter and healthier is strong at the beginning of the year, but tends to fade away after a few months.
“Many people end up abandoning their resolution – along with their unused gym membership. However, there’s a good reason why people should make this resolution stick in 2016. As a nation, we’re becoming more and more overweight, which means we are at a higher risk of developing life-threatening illnesses such as type II diabetes and heart disease.”
Exercise and nutrition are key to having a healthy lifestyle. Some insurers will reward clients for looking after their health and wellbeing and many offer discounted gym memberships. We can talk to clients about managing health and how to get the best out of any healthcare policy they have.
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