Danes say healthy diet isn’t critical to leading a good life

Study shows that enjoyment is more important than kale

Danes say that quitting smoking and enjoying oneself have more bearing on a living a good life than having a healthy diet.

According to a study of more than 5,000 Danes aged 18-80 conducted by TrygFonden and the think-tank Mandag Morgen, Danes said that living a happy life is important, even if it sometimes includes unhealthy diet choices.

READ MORE: Researchers calling for more vitamin D in the Danish diet

Quitting smoking was the number one contributing factor to a healthy life, according to those surveyed.

“I actually think that is quite good,” Morten Grønbæk, the head of Statens Institut for Folkesundhed, the national institute of public health, told DR Nyheder.

Quitting the smokes …
Respondents were to ask to consider 12 different health factors, including exercise, sleep, having friends, staying in shape, avoiding stress and avoiding alcohol.

This is the third time that the survey has been conducted. In 2007 and 2011, Danes said the most important component of a healthy life was a good diet.

But now diet’s smoked down in seventh place, while ‘enjoying life, even if occasionally being unhealthy’, has finished surprisingly high in this year’s study.

“It is fine to enjoy life, because it is in itself healthy,” said Grønbæk. “Drinking moderately, eating a varied diet, exercising – it’s all healthy.”

…but they still love their booze
Grønbæk said that quitting smoking’s top position was a positive sign. Avoiding smoking was in third place in 2011. In 2007, it was in fifth place.

“Smoking is the most unhealthy activity,” he said, calling it the number one killer among Danes, followed by a lack of physical inactivity and alcohol abuse, which finished in 12th place.

“It is a bit annoying that alcohol is so far down, because it’s a really big risk factor,” said Grønbæk.

Grønbæk said he thought quality of life and mental health issues would continue to be important to Danes.

“There are many people facing mental health issues like stress, anxiety, depression and others,” he said.

“They will continue to be important in the future.”