Just one in seven Brits consider themselves to be “unhealthy” despite growing fears over the obesity epidemic.
New research shows only 15 per cent say they are either “somewhat” or “very” unhealthy, with half (50 per cent) describing their general health as either “very” or “somewhat” healthy.
And the study also suggests that when it comes to the amount of effort people put into staying healthy, very few live the ‘no pain no gain’ mantra.
Just six per cent say they are strict with themselves to ensure that they are as healthy as possible, with less than half (46 per cent) saying they follow healthy habits most of the time.
And while a third (33 per cent) go through phases of being healthy and getting into bad habits, 14 per cent admit they don’t put much effort or thought into staying healthy.
The research by consumer analysts Mintel also shows there is a gender gap in how much effort is put into staying healthy.
Almost twice as many men (19 per cent) as women (10 per cent) admit they don’t put much effort or thought into staying healthy.
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.
“And 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.”
The top reason women indicate as the most likely to prompt them to make changes to their current lifestyles is wanting to improve their appearance (54 per cent), followed by feeling generally unfit (53 per cent) and after advice from a GP or health professional (43 per cent).
But wanting to improve their appearance is only the fourth most popular reason that would prompt men to change their lifestyle (36 per cent), behind feeling generally unfit (43 per cent), advice from a GP (41 per cent) and serious illness (38 per cent).
Two out of three adults (66 per cent) agree exercise and healthy eating are equally important for staying in shape, while the majority (55 per cent) say that well-balanced meals are better for you than following a fad diet.
Mr Mitskavets added: “Men are still, for the most part, considered to be the breadwinners, and being in a stable financial position rather than health is priority number one for today’s men.
“Perhaps one way of selling health to men is for health and fitness brands to put more focus on illustrating the positive impact regular exercise and balanced diet have on work productivity and mental focus, leading to higher earnings and a more satisfying career.”
The research also showed that the proportion of Brits who consider themselves “very healthy” rose from 11 per cent in April 2014 to 14 per cent last August.