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Why we're switched on when it comes to looking after our precious health

TODAY'S consumers are far better informed about their health. The Euro RSCG ad agency says consumers are looking for brands to help them stay physically and mentally fit.

But they are not just looking for healthier products, they also want 'nudges' in the right direction. A study of 7,213 adults in 19 countries, including Ireland.

Commenting on the findings, Tony Caravousanos (pictured) of Young Euro RSCG in Dublin says there are big changes in consumer attitudes. The most influential consumers -- labelled 'prosumers' -- believe they have some control over illnesses.

At least half of respondents said they have some impact over whether they become obese, contract a sexually transmitted disease, or develop diabetes, depression or heart disease.

But the ability to control health disorders brings with it more responsibility. It is not helped by the increasing cost of health cover.

As healthcare costs soar, wellness is creating more headaches for society. 'Reckless' health behaviour is being punished. Denmark now has a 'fat tax' on foods with more than 2.3pc saturated fat. Government employees in Alabama and North Carolina have to pay higher insurance premiums if they refuse to undergo a health check.

Most of those surveyed said positive thoughts can help heal and 40pc believe most illnesses are in people's heads. Some 78pc say food is as important as medicine in staying healthy.

But only 37pc of the report's global sample trust the food industry.