Edelman Health Barometer 2011: Global Press Release

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Globally, people believe that friends and family have as much responsibility for their personal health as do their health care providers, according to the Edelman …

Globally, people believe that friends and family have as much responsibility for their personal health as do their health care providers, according to the Edelman Health Barometer 2011. After ‘themselves’, nearly half (43%) of respondents believe that their friends and family have the most impact on their lifestyle as it relates to health, and more than a third (36%) believe friends and family have the most impact on personal nutrition. 

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  • 1. Friends and Family as Responsible as Health Care Professionals for Personal Health, Global Survey FindsPeople who are informed and proactive about their health tend to distance themselves from those with unhealthy habits, potentially missing opportunities to spread good health6 October, 2011, Bad Gastein, Austria– Globally, people believe that friends and family have as muchresponsibility for their personal health as do their health care providers, according to the EdelmanHealth Barometer 2011. After ‘themselves’, nearly half (43%) of respondents believe that their friendsand family have the most impact on their lifestyle as it relates to health, and more than a third (36%)believe friends and family have the most impact on personal nutrition.Data also show that people who model a healthier lifestyle fail to connect actively with others who maybenefit from their example, knowledge and support. Nearly one third of people (31%) – predominantlythose with healthier behaviours – tend to distance themselves from friends who engage in unhealthybehaviours. But an even larger proportion (44%) does not factor health into their social interactions; thisgroup tends to have less healthy behaviour, consume less health information and is least likely tosustain healthy behaviour change when they try.The intensely social nature of health influence was a major theme of global findings from the more than15,000-person, 12-country survey. Results were presented today at the 14th European Health Forum inBad Gastein, Austria.“Whether we mean to or not, we influence public and personal health in all aspects of our lives,” saidNancy Turett, Global President, Health, Edelman. “Health – good and bad -- is communicable, and it isthe responsibility of every citizen, especially those of us with leadership roles in any sector or industry,to act on this.”Intention-action gapThe survey reveals an “action gap” between the desire to be healthier and the ability to change. Morethan half of the global public engages in at least one negative health behaviour, such as poor nutrition,lack of exercise or tobacco use. Though 62 percent of respondents said they tried to change a negativehealth behaviour, half of those people failed, primarily because of addiction/dependency and a lack ofenjoyment or immediate reward. A lack of ongoing support, from friends, family or other resources, alsocontributed to an inability to make healthy changes stick.“Individuals have a powerful influence not just over their own health but also those around them,” saidNick Fahy, Former Head of the Health Information Unit, Health and Consumers DG, European
  • 2. Commission, and Senior Health Policy Advisor to Edelman. "We must be aware of the impact that wecan have. Just as poor health choices can be spread through social networks, so can good ones."According to the study, digital tools can be leveraged to support health-positive behaviours. Fifty-onepercent of respondents said they turn to digital sources such as social networks for information whenmaking health decisions, and while only 20 percent of the public is currently using tools, devices andapps to manage or track their own health, 68 percent of those who do say these technologies havehelped improve their health.An imperative and opportunity for institutionsWhen asked about the impact of business and government on lifestyle related to health, respondentssaid both are having the least positive impact when compared to individuals, family and friends, andnon-governmental organizations.Globally, 82 percent of respondents believe it is important for business to improve and maintain thehealth of the public – yet only 32 percent said business is currently doing a good job. People wantbusiness to engage in health in a number of specific ways, including through educating the public,innovation, and improving the health of employees and their communities.About the Edelman Health Barometer 2011The Edelman Health Barometer 2011 global survey was conducted by Edelman’s research firmStrategyOne (www.strategyone.net) and consisted of online and face-to-face interviews. It wasconducted from June 10 – July 26, 2011. The survey sampled 15,165 adults 18 years of age and older in12 countries. Online interviews were conducted in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, theUnited Kingdom and the United States. Face-to-face interviews were conducted in Brazil, China, Indiaand Mexico. The study was representative of the total country population in all markets. For moreinformation, visit www.edelman.com/healthbarometer.About EdelmanEdelman is the world’s largest independent public relations firm, with wholly owned offices in 54 citiesand 4,000 employees worldwide. Edelman was named Advertising Age’s top-ranked PR firm of thedecade and one of its “2010 A-List Agencies” and “2010 Best Places to Work;” PRWeek’s “2011 Large PRAgency of the Year;” “European Excellence Awards” “2010 Agency of the Year;” Holmes Report’s “2011Global Agency of the Year,” “Agency of the Decade,” and “2009 Asia Pacific Consultancy of the Year;”and among Glassdoor’s top five “2011 Best Places to Work.” Edelman owns specialty firms Blue(advertising), StrategyOne (research), Ruth (integrated marketing), DJE Science (medicaleducation/publishing and science communications), and MATTER (sports, sponsorship, andentertainment). Visit http://www.edelman.com for more information.
  • 3. For further information contact:Steven Spurr Todd RinglerSteven.Spurr@edelman.com Todd.Ringler@edelman.com+44 (0)7740 038919 +1 917 251 8613 ###