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New study from Benenden reveals how dismissive the public are of Government health guidelines

28th June 2016

In results from a report released today by Benenden, major contradictions have emerged between the public’s attitudes towards responsibility for their own health and their reactions to Government-set guidelines.

On the one front, 71% of respondents feel they are doing enough to look after their own health and wellbeing. Yet, in stark contrast, the same report reveals that 73% don’t eat five portions of fruits and vegetables a day, a quarter do exercise less than once a month, 8% drink alcohol every day and 75% don’t get their recommended 8 hours of sleep.

Marc Bell, Chief Executive Officer at Benenden, said: “These results have been revealed against a backdrop of continual media stories highlighting contradictions between medical advice and Government advice on health. No wonder, then, that our survey reveals a dismissive attitude from the general public towards Government health guidelines.”

Looking more in-depth, the general public has a particularly dismissive attitude towards Government attempts to guide people towards a healthy lifestyle, with 62% believing the Government isn’t doing enough or 64% believing the Government isn’t taking the right approach. 44% even think the Government doesn’t have a role to play at all in supporting personal responsibility.

Marc Bell continued: “Perhaps the public has become confused when guidelines on alcohol consumption shift or the age-old debate on how much fruit and vegetable to eat daily is never concluded. This has led to the public feeling they are in fact doing enough on their own to look after their health and have become resistant to any Government advice offered.”

The Benenden survey went on to ask who should be the focus of future public health campaigns and 55% believe such campaigns should be geared towards people of working age.

Marc Bell continued: “It’s no surprise that the growing ills of modern, working lifestyles have perhaps led to a view that the Government could focus more in this area.

“At Benenden, we continually promote a healthy lifestyle to our membership and the wider public – amongst all age groups. We’re keen to be part of the Government’s conversations about the best way to encourage greater personal responsibility for health and so indirectly reduce the burden on the NHS.”

Ends

Notes for Editors

The full report can be found here.

Benenden’s survey was undertaken by Opinium Research’s UK Consumer Omnibus amongst a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults (18+) weighted to ONS criteria. The survey took place on Friday 20th May 2016.

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