Over 10,000 people took part in Taking Charge Together, the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership survey, which provided an insight into why people feel they cannot lead a healthier lifestyle. Most people surveyed were aware of the importance of a healthy diet and regular exercise but the survey asked why this might be difficult to achieve.
The research identified three main factors which were barriers to making healthy choices:
1) “It is not made easy for us to do what’s needed.” People felt that their environment could be more supportive e.g. the need for safer open spaces for exercise
2) Confidence - respondents said they would like to feel more confident about cooking healthy food or exercising in front of others
3) Lack of resources - a lack of time or money is preventing people from choosing healthier food or being able to exercise regularly
The research also indicated that respondents broadly fell into six categories which defined their attitudes to healthy living:
- Head in the sand
- Unhealthy and I know it
- Healthy and I know it
- Worried well
More information about these categories can be found on the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership website, along with the survey results and a video.
The recommendations from this research for health and social care leaders include the need for health and social care programmes to help build confidence, funding for campaigns and programme work needs to be better targeted to deliver the right messages, and NHS and social care bosses need to support their employeess to be role models for healthy living.
Lord Peter, Chair of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said:
“The results are invaluable and will be incorporated into our long-term plans for health and social care delivery in Greater Manchester as we look to make evidence based decisions that can bring the greatest and fastest improvement to the health and wellbeing of Greater Manchester’s 2.8 million residents.”