The foods we eat and our lifestyle choices impact on our health and fitness. But although we are aware of these facts, how well does that translate into our everyday lives?
We used Google data to find out the most popular healthy and unhealthy related searches in the UK to explore just how healthy we are as a nation.
By tailoring our searches to look specifically at regions and cities, we were able to pinpoint the healthiest and unhealthiest searches per capita in each place, to help indicate the UKs healthiest and unhealthiest cities.
The main stats:
In the UK, it seems we love an unhealthy treat. Whether it’s food delivery searches or satisfying a sweet tooth, we search more for takeaways and sweet treats than running, losing weight, eating healthy, protein, dance, yoga, gyms and more combined!
Let’s break this down further to see how often we’re searching for these things.
Based on our data, it seems that as a whole, we are a nation of takeaway lovers, with unhealthy deliveries being searched for a whopping 328 times every second in the UK!
Just Eat is our favourite delivery brand and is searched for 170 times every second in the UK, followed by Uber Eats and Deliveroo.
And it’s not just savoury snacks that are clogging up our search engine results either. Another stand-out statistic showed that doughnuts were searched for more than running, so we definitely love a sweet treat.
So, what does this all mean?
Although many of the stats showed unhealthy trends, there were some positive outcomes too. With Bristol, Hull and Leicester all seeing drops in unhealthy searches in the last year, we looked at each of our countries and cities for healthy trends to see which came out on top.
Healthy vs Unhealthy searches per country:
Although Scotland had the highest unhealthy searches and the lowest healthy searches per capita, Wales was the only country to see a dip in searches for healthy activities. So as a nation, it seems we are actively seeking fitness and exercise to improve our well-being.
This was further emphasised in London, which had the highest share in England of healthy vs unhealthy searches and Northern Ireland, which had the highest share of healthy vs unhealthy searches in the UK overall.
Drilling down further by region, Manchester had the highest searches per capita for healthy things in the North West. They may favour looking after their physiques, but Mancunians also can’t resist a slice of pizza, having the highest searches per capita for pizza takeaways in the North West.
On the other hand, Liverpool came out top in the area for binge-watching, suggesting that they favour Netflix and chill over heavy gym drills!
In the South, Bristolians love their yoga, with the highest searches in the area for the activity. They also had the highest southern searches for Chinese takeaways, sweets, Deliveroo and Ubereats, so although their unhealthy searches have dropped, these stats suggest that they still enjoy a treat.
And in the North East, it’s probably unsurprising that Greggs accrued more searches than Uber Eats and Deliveroo and was the only city where one of the two wasn’t second.
Unsurprisingly, Newcastle had the highest searches per capita for Greggs across all cities, proudly backing the bakery’s northeast roots.
When we examined our data further, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Glasgow provided some of the most interesting results. Here are our findings based on these four cities.
Healthy vs Unhealthy searches per city:
Overall, Glasgow was one of our most unhealthy cities, with the highest searches in Scotland for unhealthy things and the second-lowest share of healthy searches. Being the city that has the most hangover related searches and the highest searches for McDonald’s and Just Eat, partying and takeaways are top of the agenda for this city, making it one of our unhealthiest overall.
In complete contrast, as Northern Ireland leans toward being our healthiest country, it’s unsurprising that Belfast has made it as one of our healthiest cities.
Although they like a sweet treat, having the highest searches per capita for pick and mix, the people of Belfast also had the most searches per capita for running and weight loss remedies so they’re clearly focused on achieving their weight loss goals.
Although we’ve already mentioned Mancunians as being some of the healthiest in the North West, it’s worth noting that they also had the highest searches per capita for protein. So whether they’re helping their muscles to repair, or drinking a protein shake after the gym, it’s clear that they’re focused on their health.
In London, the focus is definitely on fitness. With a 50% increase in searches for ‘Strava’ in the last three months (a total of 18,100) and an 83% increase for the search query ‘swimming pool near me’ over the same period (27,100 searches), it’s no surprise that London was up there as the city with the most healthy vs unhealthy searches in England.
Search data: Our results
After examining the search data across the UK, it’s clear that we’re certainly thinking about our fitness and health.
Although we still favour a takeaway or a sweet treat, with high volume searches for delivery brands soaring, we’ve also seen some promising healthy search data.
With only Wales seeing a drop in healthy activities out of our four countries and big cities such as Bristol, Leicester and Hull all having a drop in unhealthy searches, health and fitness are definitely a significant part of our everyday lives.
Whether it’s searching for running, yoga, protein or weight loss, popular healthy searches are coming from some of the UK’s biggest cities, with London, Manchester and Belfast riding at the forefront of the fitness trend.
In terms of search, Glasgow stands out as one of the unhealthiest UK cities, with London and Manchester paving the way for fitness in the UK. Northern Ireland’s search terms give them the prize of the UK’s healthiest country, with Belfast its healthiest city.
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