Survey Respondents Vow to Live Healthier 2004 – NOT

December 31, 2003 ( - Sure, Americans make New Year's Resolutions in which they vow to live healthier and more wholesome lives. But that doesn't mean they live up to those promises.

A new survey sponsored by health-care giant Kaiser Permanente found that while nearly 60% of Americans make health-related resolutions, just one in 10 said they were faithful to those vows. Eight percent of respondents said they vowed to live a healthier life, but just as promptly forgot about the promise.

The good health promise makers were more often women than men (62% to 58%), ages 25 to 34 (63%), with incomes in the $50,000 to $75,000 bracket (66%), and had a high school education or less (63%). Making health-related resolutions is most popular in the Midwest (63%) and least prevalent in the Northeast (54%).

Almost a third of Americans surveyed have never made a health-related New Year’s resolution. Of the resolution-averse, the highest portion hails from the Northeast (32%), are college graduates (33%), and describe themselves as retired (33%). Men are more likely than women to skip the whole resolution process entirely (32% to 26.5%). They are more likely to live in the West and be a member of the 25 to 34 age group.

“While our survey tackles a familiar American pastime – one that we don’t all approach with equal seriousness – it sheds light on the growing awareness among Americans about taking control of their health,” said Kate Christensen, Medical Director, Kaiser Permanente Internet Services Group. “There is no question that many still have a casual attitude about this annual ritual, but we’re heartened by the fact that most of the people surveyed do resolve to improve their health.”

A small group (3.5%) said they would be open to using the Internet to help them keep their resolutions via various online tools (weight-loss sites, weight calculators, walking logs, etc.) – a figure that rises to 5% among the Net-savvy 18-24 age group, and is almost mirrored by the baby boomers (45 to 54) and their elders (54 to 65), at 4.5% each. Those in the Northeast and Midwest also expressed a relatively greater interest in enlisting the Net to keep them on course.

The nationwide survey of 1,000 Americans was conducted just prior to the Christmas holidays by market research firm Synovate for Kaiser Permanente.