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Mr and Mrs Average

According to our National Health Report, as a nation we are guilty of severely neglecting our health on even the most fundamental level, failing on a daily basis to meet basic health and well-being guidelines. Mr & Mrs Average are the reason why we are a nation in crisis, wilfully neglecting our health and expecting the already overburdened NHS to pick up the pieces.

The average person in the UK sleeps for just 6.4 hours per night, which is less than the recommended 7 to 8 hours per night. It’s those aged 16-24 who are most likely to meet the recommendations (20% get 7 hours sleep per night, and 25% get 8 hours per night).

Despite an awareness of the recommendations to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day (60% of people believe that they should eat ‘5 a day’), the average person in the UK only manages 3.4 servings. Again, women do slightly better than men (3.5 compared to 3.3).

Mr & Mrs Average also drink roughly half of the recommended amount of water each day. The average person consumes 922ml when the recommended amount is 1.6l for women and 2l for men.

The average person in the UK takes just 71 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week, which is less than half of the recommended minimum of 150 minutes per week. However, there’s clearly some confusion about how active they should be: the average person in the UK thinks that they need just 113 minutes of cardio exercise per week, which is 37 minutes less than the minimum recommended amount.

People in the UK aren’t taking enough muscle strengthening exercise, either. Although the established national health guidelines are two sessions per week, the average person does this on just 1.2 sessions in a week.

However, it appears that Mr & Mrs Average have got the message about the dangers of smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. The average person consumes 10.7 units of alcohol per week, with men drinking more than women (men drink an average of 13.6 units, women drink 8.4). More than seven out of ten people in the UK now call themselves non-smokers (72% say that they do not smoke), with women more likely to say this than men (73% compared to 70%).

All of this tells us that Mrs Average generally has a healthier lifestyle than Mr Average: she sleeps more, eats more fresh fruit and veg, and drinks and smokes less. Mr Average takes more exercise, but he’s also more likely to smoke and drink, which is likely to impact upon his general health.

Established National Health Guidelines comparison

Mr. Average
Established national health guidelines
Source: NHS website
Mrs. Average
6.4 hours of sleep
7-8 hours for men and women
6.5 hours of sleep
Portions of fruit and veg per day: 3.3
5 a day for men and women
Portions of fruit and veg per day: 3.5
954ml of water a day
Women 1.6 litres, Men 2 litres (According to European Food Safety Authority, from NHS Choices website)
897ml of water a day
73 minutes cardio per week
At least 150 minutes cardio per week for men and women
69 minutes cardio per week
1.4 muscle workouts per week
Two muscle workouts per week for men and women
1.1 muscle workouts per week
13.6 units of alcohol consumed per week
Women shouldn’t regularly drink more than 2-3 units of alcohol per day Men shouldn’t regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol per day
8.4 units of alcohol consumed per week
3.8 cigarettes smoked per day
None
3.3 cigarettes smoked per day
Average BMI 26.2
18.5 - 24.9 is healthy BMI range for men and women
Average BMI 25.9