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Monday, 17 September, 2001, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Bad habit Britons reject longer life
smoking man
Many smokers would not quit for an extra year's life
Half of all UK people would rather die a year early than give up their cigarettes, booze and fatty food, a survey suggests.

The research found that 41% of women and 45% of men would say no to reforming their unhealthy lifestyles, even if doing so would extend their lives by 12 months.

Doctors are keen to stress the benefits of eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and giving up smoking.

However, the survey suggests that young people in particular are not prepared to heed the health message.

Although 42% of respondents said they wished they took better care of their health, only three in ten 15 to 24-year-olds questioned said they were actively taking care of their health.

The most health-conscious age group was 55 to 64-year-olds.

Smoking targeted

Six in ten smokers said that giving up was achievable - but half said that if it only yielded a year's extra life, it was not worth the sacrifice.

More than half of men said they were prepared to work out in a gym to improve their health, while women were more likely to try to eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

The survey was conducted by NOP on behalf of Benecol, and involved interviews with 1,200 people.

Research has shown that eating five or more portions of fruit and vegetables and taking regular exercise - as well as stopping smoking, all decrease the risk of heart disease.

Smoking is the principal cause of lung cancer worldwide. Nine out of ten of those who develop this disease die from it.

See also:

22 Aug 01 | Health
Just trying to quit boosts health
26 Jul 01 | Health
Teens risking future health
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