Time with family or pets as popular as exercise or healthy eating to maintain “physical health”

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The FINANCIAL — When it comes to the activities that people do regularly to maintain their physical health, it is no surprise that close to two thirds of the online population across 17 countries include getting enough sleep, eating healthy nutritious food, and exercising.

What is more surprising is that nearly equal numbers (62 percent) now include “spending time with family, friends or pets” as something they “do regularly to maintain their physical health”. This is up from 56 percent in 2014, according to GfK.

Getting enough sleep has stayed constant over the last three years, in terms of the percentage of people who regularly include this as part of their physical health routine. However, there are notable increases in some other activities – especially following a specific diet, unplugging from technology, eating healthy nutritious food and spending time with family, friends or pets:

2017 Percentage point difference 2017 vs 2014
Get enough sleep 65% 0%
Eat health, nutritious food 65% +7%
Exercise 64% +5%
Spend time with family, friends or pets 62% +6%
Use skin care or beauty/personal grooming products 46% +4%
Take a break from technology 34% +10%
Follow a specific diet 29% +11%
Mediate or use other relaxation techniques 25% +7%
Use herbal, holistic or other alternative remedies 23% +8%
Get cosmetic / elective surgery or non-surgical procedures, including dental, eye or skin procedures 10% +4%
None of these 1% -3%

GfK’s research indicates that ‘quality time’ has taken a step forward in people’s perception of what keeps them physically healthy. “Taking a break from technology” has increased from one in four people (24 percent) in 2014 regularly doing this to maintain their physical health to one in three people (34 percent) this year – the second largest increase across all the activities listed. In addition, “spending time with family, friends or pets” has increased from just over half of people (56 percent) in 2014, to just under two thirds (62 percent) this year.

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Eating the right food is also getting notably more attention than in the past. “Following a specific diet” climbed from 18 percent in 2014 to 30 percent this year; the biggest increase among all the activities listed. And “eating healthy nutritious food” is now mentioned by 65 percent of respondents, compared to 58 percent in 2014.

Mexico, Spain and Canada in top five countries for spending time with family, friends or pets as part of their physical health routine

Nearly three quarters of the online population in Mexico regularly spend time with family, friends or pets in order to maintain physical health – the highest percentage for all 17 countries surveyed. They are followed by Spain and Argentina (level on 71 percent) and Canada and Brazil (level on 68 percent).

Mexico also tops the list when it comes to taking a break from technology as an activity to help maintain physical health, with 43 percent of the online population regularly doing this. Here they are followed by China (40 percent), Argentina (39 percent), Spain (38 percent) and Brazil (34 percent).


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