NPR Health Poll Finds Weight Loss and Smoking Cessation Popular New Year Resolutions

For 2012, 51% Plan to Exercise More; 35% Plan to Lose Weight
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Roughly one-third of Americans say they have made a New Year's resolution to lose weight in the last five years and 42 percent of people who said they smoke regularly in that timeframe pledged to quit the habit, according to the Thomson Reuters-NPR Health Poll.

Thomson Reuters and NPR conduct a monthly poll to gauge attitudes and opinions on a wide range of health issues.

The survey, which asked respondents their opinions and experiences with New Year's resolutions focused on weight loss and smoking, found that 57 percent of Americans who have made a pledge to lose weight in the last five years were successful.  Respondents who made a resolution to lose weight said most often that their goal was between 10 and 29 pounds (48 percent). The second most popular weight loss goal was 30-49 pounds (21 percent).

One in four respondents said they smoked regularly in the last five years. Forty two percent of that group said they resolved to quit smoking over that time and 36 percent said their plan was successful.

Americans are still making resolutions as they look forward to 2012.  Fifty one percent of all respondents indicated that they will make a resolution to exercise more in the upcoming New Year. Thirty five percent said they will make a pledge to lose weight and 9% of smokers indicated that they will make a resolution to quit smoking.

"As the country re-evaluates ways to reduce runaway healthcare spending, it is time for all Americans to be resolved to take better care of themselves and others.  Data demonstrates that the majority of medical costs can be traced back to poor lifestyle issues such as obesity and tobacco use," said Raymond Fabius, MD, chief medical officer at the healthcare business of Thomson Reuters. 

"While we know it often takes several attempts to lose weight and quit smoking, it is encouraging that many survey participants are taking strides to improve their health in 2012.  Let's celebrate and support those who have resolutions to lose weight, stop smoking, eat better and exercise.  If they can meet these New Year goals they will be healthier and wealthier for it as well as helping to solve America's healthcare crisis!"

To date, the Thomson Reuters-NPR Health Poll has explored numerous health topics, including generic drugs, abortion, vaccines, food allergies, and organic and genetically modified foods. NPR's reports on the surveys are archived online at the Shots health blog here. For a copy of the full survey, click here.