As the calendar flips to a new year, a new survey from Scripps Health reveals the top five personal health goals for San Diegans in 2010. Topping the list of planned health improvements are more diligent exercise routines, followed by weight loss.
The survey of more than 2,000 San Diego County adults asked respondents to name their single-most important health goal for 2010.
Ranking No. 1 was exercise, as 30 percent said starting or intensifying an exercise regimen was their top priority. The second-most commonly cited response was weight loss, with 23 percent claiming it as their leading health goal for 2010.
According to the Scripps survey, the third-most cited health priority was reducing stress (16 percent), followed at No. 4 by eating a healthier diet (13 percent). Coming in at No. 5 was improving quality of sleep (4 percent).
Dr. Ken Fujioka, medical director of Scripps Clinic's Center for Weight Management, offers practical advice for people wanting to improve their health through exercise or weight loss.
"If you don't make the time to lose weight, or you're constantly surrounded by inappropriate foods, you most likely won't succeed," said Dr. Fujioka. "Start with simple changes like scheduling exercise on your calendar and removing all junk food from your home or office. If you want to control your weight, then you must control your environment."
Dr. Fujioka also encourages people to set a beginning weight loss goal of no more than 10 percent of total body weight. "For most people 10 percent weight loss is attainable, and can be achieved before our body's natural mechanisms to fight weight loss kick in."
Survey responses varied slightly among men and women. Male respondents were somewhat more likely to focus on exercise as their first priority, as 34 percent of males and 29 percent of females chose exercise as their No. 1 goal. Women were more likely than men to make weight loss their top priority; 24 percent of women selected weight loss as their No. 1 goal, compared to 20 percent of men.
Only 2 percent of respondents said they planned no changes in their health behaviors in 2010 because they are happy with how they currently manage their health.
The survey, conducted for Scripps Health by research firm Cheryl Stone & Associates, took place between Dec. 14 and Dec. 23, 2009 via the Scripps Health public website, Scripps.org. Participation was limited to San Diego County residents age 18 and older, with one response per e-mail address. A total of 2,042 respondents participated in the survey by selecting their single top health goal for 2010 from a list of 15 options. The margin of error (95 percent confidence level) for the sample is reliably calculated at +/- 2.2 percentage points.