The Covid-19 pandemic has changed Indians' outlook on health as 70 per cent of Indians say they will prioritize dietary and lifestyle changes in 2021 to manage both emotional and physical health, according to a survey.
It added that 60 per cent of Indians say that they will de-prioritize going to a gym. For 73 per cent of Indians, taste reigns supreme in their decision to buy food products and poor taste of health products is an obstacle to making the right dietary choices, said the finding by Habbit.
A majority of Indians- 71 per cent, felt that their health is worse off today than pre-Covid-19 due to broken eating and fitness habits. There are a number of reasons cited as barriers to better health. These are a 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. 72 per cent of survey respondents cite lack of time while 66 per cent cite the poor taste of healthy items to be their biggest obstacle.
100 per cent of the survey respondents 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. However, a bulk - 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.
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As per the survey, 70 per cent of respondents show a higher inclination than before towards improving their health through dietary changes, whereas nearly one in four, 26 per cent would also like to make meditation a higher priority. 65 per cent also indicate 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.
"The survey highlights that the myth that diet is secondary to exercise in the health journey, is beginning to crumble, with respondents realizing the importance of nutrition and prioritizing changes in diet over exercise to achieve better physical and mental health. This is the new normal," said Dhruv Bhushan, Co-founder & CEO, Habbit.
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He added: "As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to shift consumer habits towards being more health-conscious, there is an opportunity for food and nutrition companies to win on taste and fuel healthier lifestyles."
"Good nutrition is vital to a healthy life and is one of the most singularly important factors in overall health. The food we eat literally becomes who we are, and influences our physical, mental, and even emotional well-being. Complemented with physical activity, it helps to maintain the discipline of the body as well as the mind. If the body feels good, the mind will feel good! The pandemic has brought the importance of this balance to the center," says nutritionist and wellness coach Avni Kaul, and the founder of Nutri Activania, which helps people discover 'nutrition for an active life'. Avni was the diet advisor to the Indian contingent during the preparatory session for the Buenos Aires Summer Youth Olympic Games in 2018.
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.
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