A healthy relationship can be bad for women’s health

June 19, 2013

Women blame men for their unhealthy eating habits and weight gain, a survey has found.

A study of 2,000 British adults has found that 29% of women blame their partner for them putting on weight whilst in their relationship, and a third believe they would be their ideal weight if they were not with their partner.

Over 50% of all women surveyed think that their partner is to blame for filling the house with unhealthy food, leading to potential weight gain. And, out of all of those surveyed, both women and men agree that women are more likely to put on a few pounds in the comfort of a relationship.

The survey by The Co-operative Food, which was commissioned to highlight the merits of traffic light labelling, at the same time as the Department of Health launches its new front-of pack labelling scheme, also shows that, despite putting on a few pounds whilst in a relationship, women are generally more concerned with healthy eating than their partners.

Seventy per cent of women claim to look at food labels (compared to 48% of men), with 55% checking traffic lights and 76% examining product ingredients before they buy. 

Some 40% of women and almost a third (30%) of men say that “red” traffic lights have stopped them from purchasing a product because it contained too much fat, salt or sugar.

Three quarters of respondents believe that women are the most obsessed with healthy eating and watching what they eat.  And 64% of those surveyed think that women take longer to conduct the weekly shop because they take their time and check food labels.

At the same time, both women and men agree that men are more likely to reach for frozen pizzas, chips or pasties for an evening meal.

Janet Taylor, Diet and Health Manager for The Co-operative Food, said:

“It’s clear to see that women are the healthier half in relationships, but even though they watch what they eat, diligently check food labels, count calories and are more overly concerned with eating well, they still blame men for buying unhealthy snacks that they cannot resist - leading to putting on the odd pound.”

She added:

“It’s interesting to see that 41% of women and 30% of men would leave a product on the shelf if it had a ‘red’ traffic light - proving that this easy-to-check scheme really works for shoppers.

“Foods with red traffic lights, which may contain higher levels of fat, salt or sugar, are fine to eat in moderation, as a weekend treat or indulgent dinner. A balanced approach to healthy eating is the best way forward, and having plenty of healthier snacks around, such as fruit, seeds, rice cakes and vegetable crudités, is a great way to stop you from reaching for the biscuit tin as you watch TV.”

The Co-operative was the first retailer to use front-of-pack nutrition labelling back in 1995, adopted the traffic light scheme in 2006, and have been using a hybrid labelling scheme, combining both traffic light labelling and Guideline Daily Amount information, for two years.  Shoppers can see at a glance whether a product has a high, medium or low amount of fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt and how it contributes to their recommended daily intake. 

Janet Taylor added:

“We believe the new consistent labelling scheme will make it easier for shoppers to make healthier choices for themselves and their families.  However, for this to succeed, it’s essential that the food industry as a whole, including manufacturers, adopts this approach.” 

The study of 2,000 British adults was carried out via www.OnePoll.com on 12 June 2013.