Are health attitudes reflected in tangible behaviors?

If we know someone’s health attitudes, can we then predict behaviors that hinder or foster good health? We can answer this question by comparing two of our Health Information segments: the Internal Health Actives and the Uninvolved Fatalists, 18% and 10% of the U.S. 40 and older population. These two segments are polar opposites. More than twice as many Uninvolved Fatalists smoke (35%) compared to Internal Health Actives (16%).

We calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI) for all respondents. Far more Uninvolved Fatalists (40%) are obese in contrast to Internal Health Actives (28%). When it comes to exercise not on the job, three times as many Internal Health Actives (77%) say they exercise as compared to Uninvolved Fatalists (27%). On an attitude statement reflecting an avoidance of fat in the diet, 5% of Uninvolved Fatalists agree that they do so as compared to 27% of Internal Health Actives. This attitude is seen in a concrete behavior when dramatically fewer Uninvolved Fatalists (20%) tell us they have reduced fat in their diet as compared to Internal Health Actives (54%).

The consistent use of sunscreen is an important way to reduce skin cancers. Twice as many Internal Health Actives (21%) use sunscreen regularly as compared to Uninvolved Fatalists (10%). Consistent seat belt use is also higher among Internal Health Actives (94%) as compared to Uninvolved Fatalists (84%). From obesity to exercise, smoking to sunscreen use, these comparisons show that attitudes are clearly and reliably reflected in behaviors. For Internal Health Actives, healthy choices today will impact their health in the future; the Uninvolved Fatalists hardly share these views.

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