A global survey of more than 15 thousand people, the Edelman Health Barometer 2011, has found that people assign as much responsibility to their friends and family regarding their personal health as they do to health care providers.
The majority of respondents felt that they were personally responsible for their own health, with 43% feeling that the second most important factor in their health care was the impact their friends and family have on their lifestyle, and 36% felt their family and friends also have the greatest impact on personal nutrition.
Almost half of respondents did not factor health into their social interactions but this group appeared the least likely to keep to a healthy lifestyle. Those participants who had healthier behaviour (31%) claimed that they try distance themselves from unhealthy friends.
The study found that most people will try to combat their negative health behaviour but that many of those will fail due to a lack of support alongside an addiction or dependency to certain negative behaviours. The survey suggested that digital tools such as social networking sites or apps to track health change can be the most helpful for improving health.