Roy Morgan Research
July 28, 2020

The vast majority of Australians (77%) ‘feel well and in good health’

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 8473

A clear majority of Australians were feeling well and in good health when the COVID-19 pandemic came to Australia’s shores and this positive outlook has held the country in good stead dealing with the once-in-a-century restrictive measures we’ve all endured says Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine:

“Over three-quarters of Australians (77%) reported they ‘feel well and in good health’ in March as Australians dealt with unprecedented restrictions imposed to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections. Although there is little difference across the age groups it is worthwhile noting that Baby Boomers (80%) are more likely to report feeling well and in good health, while the youngest, Generation Z (75%), are a good 5% points behind their grandparents.”

Roy Morgan tracks a wide array of attitudes to health amongst Australians and key differences can be drawn between people of different ages, incomes, socio-economic level, family make-up, media consumption and almost any demographic you can imagine derived from detailed in-depth interviews with around 50,000 Australians each year collected as part of the Roy Morgan Single Source survey.

The prevalence of popular cooking shows such as Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules shows the premium Australians place on their dietary intake and 71% of Australians reported that ‘health food is not necessary if you eat properly’ – barely changed from the 69% two decades ago in 2000.

Over two-thirds of Australians (67%) reported they ‘try to get enough calcium in their diet’ and well over half (57%) said they are ‘eating less red meat these days’ – up from 50% a decade ago in 2010.

Interestingly, a growing proportion of Australians (62%) reported they ‘would like to be able to lose weight’ – up from 59% in 2000, but a steadily declining proportion said ‘a low fat diet is a way of life for me’ – now at only 24%, down from 37% at the turn of the century. This is clearly the largest change for any of the attitudes measured during the last twenty years and suggests high-fat ‘keto diets’ such as the ‘Atkins diet’ are having an impact on Australian health attitudes.

A concern for those who believe remaining active is a key to a healthy lifestyle is the steady decline in people who said they ‘love to do as many sports as possible’ – now at only 21%, down 1% from a year ago and down 7% from only five years ago in 2015.

Over a third of Australians (36%) said they ‘favour natural medicines and health products’, but this is down from 41% in 2015.

Several attitudes tracked by Roy Morgan really dig into how Australians look after their diets and 46% of people reported they ‘try to buy additive free food’ – up from 40% in 2000. This is the biggest increase for any of the attitudes tracked over the last two decades.

Nearly half of Australians (44%) said they are ‘concerned about my sugar intake’ and just under a third, 30%, were ‘concerned about my cholesterol level’ – but this is down from 38% a decade ago.

Almost a quarter of people (24%) reported they ‘always think of the number of calories in the food I’m eating’, just over a fifth (22%) ‘try to avoid carbs in their diet’ and one-in-ten said ‘the food I eat is all, or almost all, gluten free’.

These are some of the findings from the Roy Morgan Health and Wellbeing Study – the most comprehensive and long-running study of Australians’ health as well as attitudes and behaviours that relate to fitness, exercise, food, smoking, drinking, and a wide range of health and medical conditions including mental health problems. This research has been monitoring the health and wellbeing of Australians for 20 years and is part of the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, Australia’s most comprehensive consumer survey, derived from in-depth interviews with around 50,000 Australians each year.

Australians like to consider themselves health, wealthy and wise and the latest data suggests a growing number are taking a deeper interest in their own wellbeing says Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine:

“Australians are also keenly aware of looking after their health by watching what they eat. Two-thirds of Australians (67%) try to get enough calcium in their diet and almost as many, 57%, say they are eating less red meat these days – an increase of 7% points in the last decade.

“One result that may surprise is that in 2020 under a quarter of Australians (24%) said ‘a low fat diet is a way of life for me’ – down substantially over the last two decades from 37% in 2000. The prevalence of new diet fads in recent years such as ‘keto diets’ like the ‘Atkins diet’ which emphasise a ‘high fat, high protein and low-carb’ mixture of foods is changing the way people look at their foods.

“In line with new ways of thinking nearly half of all Australians (44%) say they’re ‘concerned about their sugar intake’, up slightly on a year ago. This concern is most prevalent amongst Millennials (48%) who have grown up surrounded by advertising for sugary drinks and fast food outlets which are seemingly ubiquitious across the land.

“The rising concern about dietary sugar intake has become a rallying call for many who suggest Governments should introduce extra taxation on high sugar content drinks to deter consumers in a similar manner to the taxation introduced successfully to reduce smoking in Australia.”

% of Australians who agreed with the following statements

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, April 2019 – March 2020. Base: Australians 14+.

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Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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