WASHINGTON, D.C. -- For millions around the world, the new year presents an opportunity to reflect on the past year and resolve to change the next. New Year's resolutions are often personal and usually involve improving one's health -- losing weight, exercising more, and quitting smoking -- and improving one's professional life by pursuing a promotion or a new job.
Over the last year, Gallup asked people around the world whether they are satisfied with their personal health, and whether they engaged in activities that affect their health. Looking at populations in six powerful Western nations, majorities in Canada, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States say they are satisfied with their personal health. In each of these countries, with the exception of Russia, more than 80% of respondents say they are satisfied. In Russia, 59% of residents say they are satisfied with their health.
When Gallup asked about physical activity, however, less than a majority of residents in France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom say they exercised or had a lot of physical activity the day before they were surveyed. Slight majorities of Canadians (53%) and Americans (51%) report exercising the previous day. In contrast, fewer than one in five French respondents (19%) say they exercised, as did 24% of Germans and 34% of Russians. Britons fall about in the middle, with 44% of residents saying they exercised. When respondents in these countries were asked whether they smoked the day before the survey, most in each country say no. Thirty-six percent of Russians say they smoked the previous day -- the highest percentage among the six countries.
Although many people's hopes for the new year include getting a promotion or a new job, Gallup finds that most workers in these countries are satisfied with the jobs they already have. When asked whether they were satisfied or dissatisfied with their work, more than 85% of employed respondents in Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States say they are satisfied. Seventy-one percent of Russians who have a job say they are satisfied with the work they do.
Results are based on telephone/face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults in Canada, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, aged 15 and older, conducted throughout 2006 and 2007. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.