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Is swine flu making Brits healthier?


Over half of Brits are keeping fit and healthy and eating better

London, Over half of Brits are keeping fit and healthy and eating better in an effort to deal with the swine flu epidemic, indicating that the virus may yet contribute to improving the long-term health of the nation.

A new survey by TNS Omnibus reveals that 60% of people are consciously trying harder to keep fit and healthy so that their bodies can deal with the symptoms of the flu more efficiently. We are also upping our intake of fruit and vegetables – something the health authorities have been trying, and failing, to achieve for years. 49% of Brits are now trying to eat more fruit and veg to boost their immune system and ward off the virus, and sales of fresh fruit have increased by 11% in July, compared to the same period last year [TNS Worldpanel]. A quarter (25%) of us are also taking more vitamins and health supplements now than we used to.

Parents of young children are particularly vigilant. A third of those with children under the age of five have bought products specifically for the preparation or prevention of swine flu, with thermometers, disinfectant hand wipes and tissues being the most popular. 53% of us have also chosen a ‘flu friend’ – a friend or neighbour who is willing to get medication and food if necessary –2% even admit to stockpiling food supplies and 4% additional bottles of drinking water at home in case they are forced to stay indoors.

Despite these preventative measures, people are still taking pains to avoid possible contamination. 56% of us are actively avoiding people with a cough or a runny nose, 1 in 10 are trying to stay away from crowded areas and a similar number are avoiding public transport.

According to Sue Homeyard from TNS Omnibus: “Swine flu is changing the way we live our lives, and although the epidemic is having devastating social and economic impacts, we may yet see some benefit in the long term. Brits are starting to consciously consider their health and are looking after themselves better by eating healthier food, stocking up on vitamins and exercising more. The government and health authorities have canvassed Brits to change their lifestyles for years, but this may be the first time we are seeing a real difference in people’s behaviour.”

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TNS Omnibus online study of 1015 British adults aged 16-64, conducted online from 21 to 23 July 2009

About TNS

TNS, who recently merged with Research International, is the world’s largest custom research agency delivering actionable insights and research-based business advice to its clients so they can make more effective business decisions. TNS offers comprehensive industry knowledge within the Consumer, Technology, Finance, Automotive and Political & Social sectors, supported by a unique product offering that stretches across the entire range of marketing and business issues, specialising in product development & innovation, brand & communication, stakeholder management, retail & shopper, and qualitative research. Delivering best-in-class service across more than 75 countries, TNS is part of Kantar, the world’s largest research, insight and consultancy network. Please visit for more information.

The Kantar Group

The Kantar Group is one of the world’s largest research, insight and consultancy networks. By uniting the diverse talents of more than 20 specialist companies – including the recently-acquired TNS – the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and actionable insights for the global business community. Its 26,500 employees work across 80 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at each and every point of the consumer cycle. The group’s services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies. The Kantar Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WPP Group plc. For further information, please visit


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