Australians are eating better and exercising more, according to new research from digital wellness hub HealthyLife. However, mental health, anxiety and sleep quality are areas of concern.
The first annual HealthyLife Living Healthy Report combines a 2000 person national survey with analysis from 25 million weekly purchases made at Woolworths supermarkets between 2019 and 2021, to shed light on the impact of the pandemic on the nation’s health.
The report focuses on three key pillars; eating well, moving well and feeling well. It found:
- One in three Australians are eating better now, compared with two years ago and believe they are healthier as a result.
- Almost a third of Australians believe they are eating less highly processed food.
- 41% of Australians are cooking more at home than they did two years ago.
Shopping habits reveal Aussies want a healthier life?
Simone Austin, Chief Health Officer with HealthyLife said, ‘The pandemic has provided a unique circuit breaker and a focus on health we haven’t seen before. As a result, we have seen a number of positive health improvements.
‘However, while the survey data showed some Australians said they are now eating less highly processed food, our basket data reveals the average shop consists of a third of ‘discretionary’ foods, such as soft drinks, potato chips and ice cream.
‘To help customers better understand the types of foods they are purchasing, we recently launched “Food Tracker”, in partnership with Woolworths Group. The program shows shoppers the balance of their basket in servings of food, compared to the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommendations.
‘Despite the challenging last two years, it’s clear as a nation we’ve made many positive changes. But we still have a way to go. Using the report insights, we want to turn talk into action and help make living a healthier life more achievable for everyone,’ said Ms Austin.
While revealing positive trends on healthier living and home cooking, the report has revealed mixed results when it comes to movement, energy levels and mental health.
For example, working from home has potentially had a positive impact on physical activity, with 33% of Australians saying they are integrating more movement, exercise at home and online classes into their days now, compared with two years ago.
However, a third of Australians are not doing any muscle strengthening activity.
Over half of Australians (58%) say their quality of sleep is average or poor, with 39% stating anxiety is the biggest factor affecting their sleep quality, and one in four Australians believe their mental health has been negatively impacted by the pandemic, with watching television the most common strategy used to maintain mental health.
28% of people feel they have become more resilient since the pandemic which may help them cope with stress, and significantly more families (35%) indicated that their resilience had improved since pre COVID-19.
HealthyLife say they have recently launched ‘Ways to Well’, a series of programs to help Australians make small, achievable changes to their lifestyles, including reducing sugar intake. The wellness hub has also introduced complimentary practitioner consultations, providing customers with accessible health advice.
You can visit this link to download the full report.