Almost half the nation concerned about bad health

08 January, 2015

In a recent survey result with the potential to alarm medical professionals, almost half the Australian population say they are worried about the current state of their health.

The survey, commissioned by national health campaign FebFast, asked over a thousand Australians about their health and their confidence in improving it.

Over a third of those surveyed are currently quite concerned about their health, while more than one in ten say they are very concerned.

Areas of concern include: weight management; eating habits; overall health; and time spent on social media – with over three quarters of those surveyed looking to improve in these areas.

Professor of Public Health at the Melbourne School of Population Health and FebFast Patron, Rob Moodie, said that the survey results show we've reached a critical point in our attitudes towards personal health.

A new set of health concerns

"There are a new set of health issues emerging in the modern world and these new findings show that many Australians worry about the direction their health is heading.

"Our busy lives are leading to poor food choices due to ease of access, advertising and cost.

"We're also starting to see negative effects caused by the constant 'connectivity' of social media," said Professor Moodie.

"The good news is that the vast majority of people are also planning on taking action towards leading healthier lifestyles this year," he said.

Two thirds of survey participants said they intend on making time for better health in the New Year by drinking less alcohol, consuming less junk food and refined sugars or staying away from social media for an extended period of time.

"It's encouraging to see so many people wanting to improve their health in 2015.

"By taking a break and putting your health first in the New Year, you'll be better placed health-wise for the remainder of the year.

"There are major health benefits to living a simplified life free from modern addictions, including better sleep, less stress and a clearer mind to make better decisions," Professor Moodie added.

FebFast, now in its eighth year, is introducing a new set of fasts in 2015.

National Campaign Director, Josh Comer, said Australians can now take a break from alcohol, sugar, junk food, social media or smoking to improve their own health and raise funds to help kids with addiction get their lives back on track.

"Last year alone, funds raised through FebFast helped over 10,000 Australians with education and support," he said.

"Whether you go solo or enlist the help of a friend, make sure you register before 1 February," said Mr Comer.

Top 5 national FebFast survey findings

  1. Two thirds of Australians plan on a period of good health in 2015 (e.g. a month without smoking, alcohol, junk food, sugar - or simply by increasing exercise levels.)
  2. Women were significantly more likely to be planning for a period of good health (69%) compared to men (60%). Under 35s are also much more likely (72%) compared to over 35s (62%).
  3. 70% of those planning a period of good health think they are more likely to succeed if they do it with a friend/partner/group of friends by their side for support. The two main reasons for this decision are that it would be more fun to do together (67%) and to support each other (63%).
  4. People are primarily concerned about their own health (47%), followed by their partner's health (40%) and then their parents' health (37%). 68% of people surveyed are concerned about the health of at least one family member.
  5. Maintaining or a achieving a healthy weight was listed as the most important health goal for Australians in 2015 (82%), followed by improving overall health (80%), eating healthier foods (75%) and increasing exercise (74%).