South Africans feel alive and energetic and consider themselves fit. Most people say that they get enough sleep but they tend to eat and drink whatever tastes good. They do believe it is important to eat food full of vitamins and that healthy eating also improves their appearance and the way they feel about themselves.
The Nestlé Rainbow Nation Health Monitor study found that adults in South Africa fall along a strongly-differentiated spectrum that ranges from healthy attitudes and behaviours to unhealthy attitudes and behaviours. There is a secondary dimension that separates those with a particularly frenetic, outgoing and social lifestyle from others. In total, the study divided people into six main groups
The Invincibles have the poorest behaviours and attitudes – eight out of ten get very little exercise and four out of ten (the second highest of all the groupings) smoke. They happily admit that they ofteneat junk food and prefer fried foods. For them taste is absolutely paramount and they are aware that they do not eat the correct types of food. However, they say that they are tooyoung to worry about their health and they generally demonstrate a poor knowledge of health and nutrition. They have a particularly low intake of vegetables, fruit, dairy and water, and a much higherintake of fats, sugars and beer compared to healthier mindset segments
The Unconcerned say that they choosesustaining foods that keep them going all day long – although taste is still key. They know a little more about health and nutrition than the first group but are not really interested and have difficulty assessing food quality. They, too, get less exercise than the average (62% say that they get little or no exercise) and have a lower than average intake of vegetables, fruit, dairy and water. Fats, sugars and beer still feature more prominently in their diet than average.
There is a very large Middle of the road group that eat what tastes good - if it ishealthy, that’s a bonus. They say that they areaware of health issues andclaim to be moving away from junk and fried foods - but taste still outweighs health benefits. They have some interest and knowledge of health andnutrition, and theimpact of healthy foods on their looks and making them feel good is starting to become important.However, they are unwilling to change their lifestyle for these benefits. Whilst they do not exceed the daily recommendations on any food groups, they eat less than the recommended amounts of vegetables, dairy, water and fruits.
Moving to the more healthy part of the spectrum, the Health active group watcheswhat they eat by choosing low fat options, watching the calories and avoiding artificial ingredients. They are fairly weight-conscious compared to other segments and tend to read food labels and buy foods that show health benefits. Nonetheless, taste is still important but healthier cooking options begin to appear. This group has a good knowledge of and a high interest in health and nutrition. They are aware of health issues, take supplements but do not exercise enough - 55% get little or no exercise.
The Health managers are the most health conscious by far. They are selective about what they eat (high fibre foods and heart healthy foods, avoiding salt, red meat and artificial ingredients). They go out of their way to optimise their diet and will shop at healthier stores. They prefer healthier cooking methods and have a sophisticated knowledge of health and nutrition. They choose food and beverages to boost energy levels, physical and mental performance and buy into food health properties. This is the most likely group to take supplements and exercises the most compared with other segments (only 29% get little/no exercise). They have the highest intake of dairy, vegetables and fruit and water but this is still below the daily recommendations of vegetables and water. They have the lowest salt and fat consumption. They actively seek out health and wellness information and read food labels.
The Easy Lifers – those with the frenetic, outgoing and social lifestyle. They prefer takeaways and eating out at restaurants. They do not eat enough vegetables and fruit and tend to eat more than they should - food that is filling is important. Six out of ten use the microwave to cook food to support their convenience lifestyle. They have the lowest intake of vegetables of all the groups. They also feel that they are too young to worry about their health although they do have a poor knowledge of health and nutrition and are aware of health issues. They compensate for their relatively unhealthy lifestyle by dieting and taking supplements. Seven out of ten do not exercise and six out of ten are smokers – the highest incidence of any group. Worryingly, they are the most likely to pass on their poor eating habits to their children.
Do you want to know which group you fall into? Go to the Nestlé website: www.nestle.co.za
What's your health personality? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Press release, Nestlé, October 2012)