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Sleep Beats Healthy Eating and Exercise in People’s Health Routines

GfK asked consumers around the world what activities they regularly engage in to maintain their physical health – and getting enough sleep topped eating healthy food, exercising or taking vitamins.

GfK’s survey of 23 countries found that two-thirds of global consumers (66 percent) say that they regularly get enough sleep in order to maintain physical health. This is more popular among global women (at 69 percent), compared to 63 percent of global men.

The next most popular activity is eating healthy, nutritious foods, with 59 percent of global consumers regularly doing this to maintain physical health. In this case, women are even more strongly in the lead at 63 percent, compared to 56 percent of men.

When it comes to exercise, 57 percent of global consumers work out regularly to maintain physical wellbeing – and more men tend to do this than women: 60 percent vs. 54 percent.

Sleep Beats Healthy Eating and Exercise in People's Health Routines

Countries where top 3 activities are most popular

Looking at how prevalent these healthy behaviors are in individual countries, GfK’s survey indicates that Indonesia (85 percent), India (77 percent) and China (73 percent) are the top three countries where consumers say that they habitually get enough sleep in order to maintain physical health.

India and Indonesia are also the two top markets where consumers say they regularly eat healthily to maintain physical wellbeing, with 79 percent and 74 percent respectively – and they are followed by Mexico with 69 percent.

For countries where people regularly exercise to maintain physical health, Mexico tops the list with 68 percent claiming to do this, followed closely by China at 67 percent and Canada and Australia coming third at 61 percent each.

Differences between women and men

Other interesting findings revealed by GfK’s survey include the fact that global women are over two times more likely than global men to regularly use sunscreen in order to maintain physical health (42 percent vs.18 percent). Brazilian consumers are in the lead on sunscreen use at a national level (at 46 percent), followed by Canada and South Korea (both at 43 percent). Australia and Spain both trail at 42 percent.

Differences between parents and non-parents

The survey also revealed that there are differences between parents and non-parents in the top three activities for maintaining physical health. There is a slight difference in getting enough sleep (where parents lead by 2 percent) and exercise (where non-parents lead by 3 percent). But we see a more significant difference when it comes to eating healthy, nutritious foods. Here, parents lead over non-parents by 8 percent, presumably since this healthy measure can benefit the child as well as the parent.

Ranking: activities people around the world say they do regularly to maintain physical health

    Get enough sleep                                              66%
    Eat healthy, nutritious foods                                 59%
    Exercise                                                      57%
    Have a regular oral care routine                              54%
    Spend time with family, friends, or pets                      53%
    Use skin care or beauty/personal grooming products            38%
    Take vitamins or other supplements                            32%
    Use sunscreen                                                 30%
    Take a break from technology or unplug/disconnect             22%
    Follow a specific diet                                        18%
    Meditate or use other relaxation techniques                   17%
    Get massages or other types of spa treatments                 14%
    Use herbal, holistic, or other alternative remedies/therapies 14%
    Get cosmetic or elective surgery or non-surgical procedures    6%

Source: GfK survey of more than 28,000 consumers aged 15 or older in 23 countries - averages across all countries, multiple selections possible, figures are rounded.

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