When it Comes to Americans” Health, Actions Don”t Speak Louder than Words

There is a disparity between Americans’ healthy intentions and their actual actions, according to a new study released today by Health Dialog and commissioned by parent company Bupa. The survey was conducted as part of Bupa Health Pulse 2011, a global study of health attitudes and behaviors of over 12,000 individuals across 12 countries.

While 64% of Americans say that their health is a high priority, 64% are overweight, over a fifth (21%) smoke, 1 in 6 (16%) drink moderately to heavily, and a quarter (25%) say they maintain a below average diet. The research also revealed that nearly half (45%) of U.S. respondents exercise less than two hours a week and 81% admit to eating less than the five recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Additionally, the survey shows that 73% cite barriers to looking after their health, including a lack of motivation and time.

Interestingly, the study shows that 82% of Americans believe the responsibility for one’s health is mainly their own as opposed to anybody else’s and many people do want to make a change for the better. In fact, 67% of those who are moderate to heavy drinkers would like to cut down, more than 68% of smokers would like to quit, and 68% of poor/fair eaters want to improve their diets.

“People want to be more in control of their health but they may not have the resources, information, or professional guidance to be successful,” said Jan Maurer, MD, Vice President and Medical Director, Health Dialog. “We believe health coaching is a critical and proven part of the solution and can help people change their lifestyles to improve their health. A Health Coach can help people understand and overcome barriers to healthy behaviors. Our goal is to help people gain the skills and motivation they need to fit health into their day to day priorities.”

Ipsos MORI interviewed 13,373 members of the general public aged 18+ across 12 markets (Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Thailand, UK and US) between April 22 and May 23, 2011. 1000 interviews were conducted in the US. All interviews took place through Ipsos online panels and Ipsos panel partners.