‘Sinful Saturday’: the cut off point for weekly health resolutions

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Over Half (53%) of the UK often starts the week with new week health resolutions, such as eating healthily and drinking plenty of water, but often fail by ‘sinful Saturday’ only to start again on Monday, according to new research. [1]

The Natural Hydration Council study of more than 2,000 [1] people’s healthy living habits found almost a third (31%) of people start every week with healthy eating and drinking intentions and one in five (21%) start most weeks with plans to be healthy.

However nearly one in ten (9%) of those with new week health resolutions, see their healthy intentions slip between Tuesday and Thursday, and a further one in ten (12%) slip up on a Friday as the weekend begins. An additional one in five (22%) join them by slipping up on Saturdays. Just thirteen per cent of the population’s mini resolutions see the whole week out.

Following the same pattern, more than one in ten (14%) start the week drinking lots of water, but admit consumption tails off towards the end of the week.

National celebrations, such as Christmas and Easter, is one of the biggest disruptions to people’s healthy intentions (37%), followed closely by celebrations in general (35%) such as birthdays, weddings and engagements. Eating out (34%) and stress (32%) follow closely behind.

A quarter of the population reported finding it difficult to stick to healthy eating and drinking intentions in the following settings: during meals out (30%), at home at the weekends (26%) and at home in the evenings (25%). A further 23 per cent find it difficult to stick to their healthy habits during nights out.

Dr. Emma Derbyshire, public health nutritionist and adviser to the Natural Hydration Council said:

“We all like to treat ourselves at the weekends but it’s important try to stick to our goals throughout the whole week. Staying healthily hydrated is one of the core elements of a healthy lifestyle, but it can also be one of the easiest things to let slip.”

Two thirds (66%) of the UK believe they drink plenty of water, but in settings where they find it difficult to stick to healthy intentions many are either not drinking any or much water at all:

In addition, a fifth of those employed report rarely or never drinking water at work, with 13 per cent saying this leaves them feeling dehydrated in the workplace and more than one in ten (11%) claiming their bosses don’t give them easy access to drinking water at work.

Dr. Emma Derbyshire added:

“The research is especially concerning as it highlights how many people find it difficult to stay hydrated at work.

“Research has shown that even a reduction in dehydration levels of as little as 2% of body weight can influence mood, lead to greater feelings of fatigue and reduced levels of alertness [2]. Given in the UK we spend an average of 37-hours a week in the workplace [3], it’s really important we stay hydrated at work for our wellbeing and for productivity.”

More than half (54%) of the UK thinks about healthy living regularly or constantly, with a third (35%) thinking about it from time to time. Those who keep health to the front of their minds, are more likely to keep healthily hydrated with 73% of those who constantly think about health drinking an adequate amount of water, compared to 43% of people who don’t give health much or any thought staying hydrated.

More than one in ten (13%) of those who try to keep healthy habits feel the need to control their eating and drinking habits constantly, with a quarter (26%) needing to daily, and only a quarter find it easy to actually keep to their healthy habits.

Kinvara Carey, General Manager at the Natural Hydration Council said:

“Although most drinks will hydrate you, water is one of the healthiest ways to hydrate as it contains no calories or sugar. There is so much choice when it comes to water, with a range of high quality naturally sourced still and sparkling waters as well as tap water at home, or carried in a reusable bottle”.

The European Food Safety Authority recommends a total water intake of 2.5 litres for men and 2.0 litres for women per day, via food and drink [4]. Ideally 70–80% of this should come from drinks and 20–30% from foods [5].


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Settings people find it difficult to stick to their healthy intentions in

Setting            Percentage
Meals out 30%
At home at weekends 26%
At home in the evenings 25%
Nights out 23%
At home in the day 18%
At a friend’s 16%
Out and about 16%
At work 11%
On the commute 5%

Cut off points for weekly health resolutions by region

Regional breakdown of data


Additional stats

Dr Emma Derbyshire’s top tips for employers to ensure adequate hydration at work:

  1. Encourage employees to start their day with a glass of water.
  2. If your employees are feeling tired, have a headache or are experiencing any other signs of dehydration, encourage them to take a break and try having a glass of water, as a first step.
  3. If dehydration could affect your employees safety, or that of others, then don’t risk it. Consider ways to improve access to water for you and your colleagues to make sure they keep well hydrated.
  4. Remind employees that foods with a high water content; for example, melon, soups, stews, fruit and vegetables, will make the greatest contribution to your daily water intake.

Notes to Editors

[1] The research was carried out by PCP market research. PCP Market Research conducted quantitative research online among 2048 adults across the UK. This research was conducted between 3rd – 9th November 2016.

[2] Benton D & Young HA (2015) Do small differences in hydration status affect mood and mental performance? Nutr Rev 73 Suppl 2:83–96.

[3] Office for National Statistics, Earnings and working hours: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/search/index.html?nscl=Weekly+Hours&nscl-orig=Weekly+Hours&content-type=Dataset&content-type=Reference+table&sortDirection=DESCENDING&sortBy=pubdate. Data from 1997 – 2014.

[4] EFSA (2010) Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for water. EFSA Journal 8(3); 1459 [48pp].

[5] EFSA (2010) Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for water. EFSA Journal 8(3); 1459 [48pp].