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The Knowledge, Attitudes and Motivations to Health report

24 April 2013 | Tags: health and wellbeing, NHS

ScotCen Social Research's report "The Knowledge, Attitudes and Motivations to Health" has been published today by NHS Health Scotland

Lead author of the report, Lisa Rutherford, Research Director, ScotCen Social Research says:

"Our findings suggest that while further efforts to improve public understanding of what constitutes healthy behaviour are to be encouraged, it is important to bear in mind that improved knowledge will not necessarily translate into improved behaviour. For example, there was almost universal recognition of the 5-a-day guideline on fruit and vegetable consumption, yet fewer than a quarter managed to actually meet the guideline.

The data also point to a gap between people's perceptions of how healthy they think they are and how healthy they actually are according to the information we collected about their lifestyles. Just 5% of adults described themselves as a 'heavy' or 'very heavy drinker', yet we know that 42% drank outwith the government's guidelines on daily and weekly consumption. Similarly, while 55% were able to describe their weight accurately, a significant proportion of people couldn't.  The challenge for policy makers is to make sense of these gaps that such gaps exist and design policies and interventions to narrow them.

In addition, these findings also suggest that public awareness of some of the more complex public health guidelines is fairly low . Only a quarter of adults knew how much physical activity the government advised them to do to stay healthy and fewer than one in six were able to correctly identify the recommended daily maximum number of alcoholic units for their sex."