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Health 2021

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Andrew McCormack, Research Executive

by Andrew McCormack, Research Executive

Core Research

As the COVID-19 pandemic has been prominent in our day to day lives for almost a year, it can (and has) posed barriers to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. On the back of five years of research, which began in 2016, Core has researched the adult population and how regular habits can contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

3 in 4 adults consider themselves to be “healthy”, and this research unearths findings across three key areas of health which are wellbeing, diet and physical exercise. Many aspects of health and fitness have been comparable year on year, however taking into the account that 2020 was a year like no other and 2021 has potential to follow suit, certain aspects of a healthy lifestyle have changed from previous waves. This year saw the introduction of online workouts and virtual fitness instructors to the research, as well as doctor consultations carried out via video platforms such as zoom.

Irish adults have told us that health and fitness is very much back to basics, with key activities such as walking, cycling, and staying in touch with friends and family all increasing in importance when it comes to a healthy lifestyle.

Wellbeing is a key element of Health 2021 As we navigate this crisis, everyone will be having a different experience, yet the importance of wellbeing as a contributor to overall health is becoming more evident. Although people who exercise every day and monitor their diet (a cohort Core Research refer to as Active+ Foodies) has risen by 5% (approximately 180,000 adults), there are specific wellbeing habits that have also gathered momentum since the research began in 2016.

The research tells us that 79% of people are conscious of their mental health, and 6 in 10 people place as much emphasis on it as they do with their physical health. While being conscious of mental health can be viewed as either a positive or negative, it tells us that awareness of mental wellbeing has increased. People shared with us that their intentions to manage mental wellbeing through meditation, journaling, therapy and staying in touch with friends and family have never been higher.

Knowing that wellbeing is firmly on people’s radar for the year ahead, and given that stress is the most felt emotion by 36% of the adult population, it has never been so important for brands to be sincere, in order to truly connect with their customers on a deeper, empathetic level than previous years.
2021 looks set to follow on from 2020 in the sense that physical activity will continue to rise. Those who do not exercise but monitor what they eat (Inactive Foodies) is down 5% year on year, while those who neither exercise nor monitor their diet (Resters) has remained steady.

However, there is no one ingredient that results in a healthy lifestyle and the research tells us that nutrition, wellbeing and physical fitness are all important for different cohorts who understand that now has never been a more important time to maintain good health.

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