Olympics fail to change UK health habit

London 2012 may have inspired British pride but it hasn't done much for our health habits - almost two thirds of Brits say it hasn't inspired them to be any healthier at all.

According to the poll[1] by health and wellbeing website Patient, 62% of people said they had no intention of changing their lifestyle to be any healthier because of the Olympics.

And despite the fact that one in six people is more aware of exercise opportunities because of London 2012, just 4% have been inspired to take up a sport.

Eating more healthily also seems to be too much of an Olympian challenge for us. Only 12% of respondents said the summer of sport had inspired them to watch what they eat.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, clinical consultant at Patient, and a GP in Shepherds Bush, London, said: "Hearing that nearly two thirds of people haven't been inspired at all to improve their health and wellbeing is disappointing but not necessarily surprising - changing daily habits is difficult and a big step for many.

"What is important to remember, however, is that even small changes can make a huge difference - you don't have to start training like Jessica Ennis to improve your health."

And according to the survey, the 'small changes' philosophy is one we share. While we may not be racing to take up a sport or make dramatic lifestyle changes, 14% of people said they will use existing activity to get fitter - walking more often or by gardening a bit more vigorously.

Dr Sarah continued: "People are more likely to stick to changes like these - they are manageable and importantly, more sustainable. Studies have shown that 30 minutes of brisk walking can actually burn off nearly the same calories as jogging and with less stress on the joints. So while working a little more walking into our lives may not win us any gold medals, it is definitely a step in the right direction."

[1] Poll of 6,853 people via the Patient website

Release date: 30 October 2012