Health — mental, physical and emotional — is the top priority for Indians especially in the backdrop of COVID-19, if a new survey is to go by. Over 70 per cent of Indians said they will prioritise dietary changes over going to a gym or fitness centre to improve overall health, immunity and lower stress and anxiety levels. Interestingly, 100 per cent of the survey respondents also correctly identified what are healthy foods versus junk foods, indicating very high awareness about the ill-effects of unhealthy options that are full of fats or sugars.
The end of year survey conducted by Habbit further mentioned 71 per cent felt their health is worse off today than pre-Covid-19 due to broken eating and fitness habits.
Some of the reasons cited were “lack of time, poor taste of healthy products, and confusing technical details of healthy products exaggerated by the inability to make a choice among the various options”.
As per the survey, 72 per cent of respondents cited lack of time while 66 per cent cited the poor taste of healthy items to be their biggest obstacle.
The online survey was conducted in the last quarter of 2020 with 2,428 adults across metros in India. All respondents are in the age group of 22-56 years and have an annual household income of more than Rs 10 lakh.
However, 73 per cent highlighted that they would still consume unhealthy options since they are “tasty, convenient and part of their daily lifestyle”. Taste, thus, reigns supreme in the decision to buy food and a majority still prefers tasty foods that also have nutritional benefits, over healthy foods that may not taste good.
Dhruv Bhushan, co-founder and CEO, Habbit, said, “Crisis drives change, in perception, choices, beliefs and behaviours. Our extensive survey of consumption behaviours in the wake of the pandemic validate that consumer’s outlook on life, health and wellness have undergone a permanent shift. There is a high desire to make lifestyle changes to achieve better health outcomes along with an evolved perception of what it even means to be healthy. The survey highlights that the myth that diet is secondary to exercise in the health journey, is beginning to crumble, with respondents realising the importance of nutrition and prioritising changes in diet over exercise to achieve better physical and mental health. This is the new normal.”
Nearly one in four, 26 per cent, would also like to make meditation a higher priority whereas 65 per cent indicated their increased reliance on medical and nutritional experts to help achieve their goals. More than 60 per cent of Indians have a reduced priority than earlier towards traditional gyms and fitness centres, owing to social distancing and avoidance of communal areas in Covid-19, and would prefer to exercise at home or do alternate physical activities like running, cycling or aerobics.