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Often these are the fairly obvious, from doing more exercise to eating more fruit and veg, but occasionally shocking health facts do come to light. 

1) 10 per cent of parents believe cola counts as fruit

Green Giant, the company probably best known for its tinned sweetcorn, did some research into the eating habits of families, with some very surprising findings. Shockingly, one in 10 Brits believe cola counts towards their five a day, and the same proportion think chips do too. Even more worrying is the fact that 20 per cent think fruit flavoured sweets count, while 5 per cent don’t think that oranges or bananas do.

2) Being blind would be better than being fat for one in six women

While many of us would pay a hefty price tag for the perfect body, research carried out by Arizona State University found that one in six females would rather be blind than obese. Alongside giving up their eyesight, many said they would prefer alcoholism or herpes to being overweight, while a quarter would rather suffer from depression.

3) Nearly half of all women surveyed would like cosmetic surgery

According to research results publicised in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 48 per cent of the women surveyed would definitely be interested in going under the knife, with a further 23 per cent possibly interested in surgical intervention. The corresponding figures for men were 23 per cent and 17 per cent respectively, suggesting that negative body image is something that is now crossing genders.

4) A third of cancers could be prevented

Four out every ten premature deaths may be caused by cancer, but the World Health Organisation has issued a report that states a third of all the different types of cancer could be prevented by changes in people’s behaviour. Typical causes which could be eliminated include tobacco consumption, a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight, drinking alcohol, bacterial infection and polluted environments.

5) Smoking can knock out one third of your memory

Smoking statistics are always shocking, but they are generally related to the likelihood of premature death. However, Northumbria University has found that smoking can have a serious effect on the day to day memory during the lifetime of a smoker.


In tests, people who smoked were found to underperform by around 33 per cent when compared with non-smokers. Although, the university also found that the effect was only temporary, as the memory levels of people who had smoked previously but then gave up were soon restored to normal.

6) 94 per cent of Americans fail to exercise for 30 minutes a day

It’s generally recommended that people exercise for at least half an hour per day to maintain a reasonable level of fitness. In a Cooking Light Insight survey in the USA, only 6 per cent of respondents reported that they managed to do this. Although the survey did find that 22 per cent of Americans exercise up to four times a week, it still leaves a high proportion of the population who may be putting themselves at risk of obesity and heart problems.

7) Your “hidden sugar” intake could be as much as 46 teaspoons full a day

Even if you don’t take sugar in your coffee or sprinkle it on your morning cereal, you could, unwittingly, be consuming far more of it than you realise each day. Figures published in an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that for some, it can be as much as 46 teaspoons worth a day. This is because food companies have been steadily increasing the amount of sugar that they put in processed foods to make them more appealing. As well as being a major cause of tooth decay, another of the shocking health facts about sugar is that it can also increase the risk of heart disease.


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