Research conducted by PruHealth, the private health insurance company that rewards policyholders for being healthy, found that people expected their January health kicks to last for, on average, 123 days. This therefore means that Monday 4 May was the day most people fell off the health wagon.
Whether it's down to stronger willpower, more pressure to have celebrity bodies, or simply cutting back on calorific treats in the credit crunch, the average Brit's New Year health kick has lasted 45 days longer this year than in 2008, with dieters sticking to their diet and fitness regimes for over four months in 2009.*
Of those still sticking to their diets, the vast majority of dieters (55%)** plan to keep up their new healthy lifestyle forever, suggesting that 'quick-fix' fad diets such as Beyonce's maple syrup diet are well and truly out of fashion.
Nearly two-thirds of Brits (61%) planned to embark on a new diet or fitness regime at the start of the year. PruHealth, private medical insurance company, also found that nearly half (48%) of these dieters saw it as an ongoing, permanent lifestyle change rather than an attempt to quickly lose those extra pounds.
However, by the end of April, 30% of dieters had already abandoned their diets, with over a quarter (26%) of people caving in after less than a month on the salads and gym classes.
When it comes to sticking to resolutions, resisting the lure of sugary snacks is the biggest challenge for sweet-toothed dieters, with 22% rating this as the hardest hurdle to overcome. A further 10% admitted giving up alcohol was their biggest health regime challenge.
Katie Roswell, Marketing Director, PruHealth, said: "The nation appears to be taking a step in the right direction and maintaining a healthy lifestyle on an ongoing basis, rather than opting for more dangerous crash diet or exercise plans. The key is finding a routine that incorporates a nutritionally balanced diet and regular exercise into your lifestyle, and not completely denying yourself the occasional treat for doing well, as this can help keep up the motivation."
Worryingly, for 21% of dieters this year it took the shock of a health scare to inspire them to take action and embark on a new, healthier lifestyle. But messages about the health of the nation appear to be hitting home, as the majority of dieters (54%) simply wanted to follow a healthier lifestyle.
The information contained in Prudential UK's press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions. Full consumer product information can be found at www.pruhealth.co.uk.
Notes to editors:
Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.
* Opinium Research online poll of 2,233 British adults carried out 23rd - 30th December 2008.
** Opinium Research online poll of 2,200 British adults carried out 17th - 20th April 2009.
PruHealth health insurance was launched in October 2004 as a joint venture between Prudential and Discovery Holdings from South Africa. Since launch, PruHealth has grown quickly. It now covers over 190,000 lives and in a sample of its individual customers, one third said they had changed their behaviour for the better because of its Vitality reward scheme which encourages policyholders to look after their health.
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