Is Your Health & Sports Fandom Determined By Where You Live?

It's no secret that the UK is passionate about food, sport, and lifestyle. Depending on where in the country you live, the three of those are often intertwined into what some call culture.

But does where you live within the country have any impact on what sports you like to watch, how often you participate in exercise yourself, and the kind of healthy habits you have?

We recently surveyed 2000 people from 12 different regions of the UK about their sport fandom, health, lifestyle, and where they all intersect.

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The Regions Most Obsessed With Sport
If you're a lover of sport, it can be easy to forget that not everyone is as caught up in the sporting world as you are. However as our survey showed, many, many still are even if it's not absolutely everyone.
If you're a lover of sport, it can be easy to forget that not everyone is as caught up in the sporting world as you are. However as our survey showed, many, many still are even if it's not absolutely everyone.

In fact, over 50% of those in every single region we surveyed considered themselves to be regular viewers of sports on TV.

London led the way with 73% saying they watched at least a half hour of sport per week. Wales, Scotland, and the North East all had tallies over 70% as well.

However, it didn't take too much devotion to answer 'yes' to that question, and the true diehards revealed themselves when we examined who watched more than five hours of sports programming per week.

A whopping 30% of Northern Ireland respondents said they watch the equivalent of over three football matches a week. This is a huge chunk of people compared to the other regions where fans watch at least that same amount of sport per week, namely Wales, the West Midlands, and London.

For whatever reason, those in the southeast part of England were the 'least' interested in televised sport. 'Only' 58% of those in each the East Midlands and East Anglia said it was a regular pastime for them.
To no one's surprise, 55% of all correspondents said they watch football on a regular basis, more than 5 times the next most popular sport (tennis) at 11%. Rugby was the only other sport that over 5% of respondents enjoyed watching, however 9% listed they enjoyed watching 'other sports'.

Interestingly. as reflected by the recent alarm over its plummeting TV ratings, just 4% said they enjoy watching cricket.

From there, the breakdown of who watches the 'big three' (football, tennis, rugby) gets interesting.

Probably not coincidentally, London has the largest football viewership (43% of surveyees). Meanwhile in the southwest, even Bournemouth AFC's recent ascendency to the Premier League hasn't made football on TV anymore popular in the region, with a survey-low of 26% saying football is their primary sport of choice to watch.

Tennis had the smallest range of discrepancy of the three sports, with 5-9% of those in all regions saying it was their favourite sport to watch. Nearly a tenth of all respondents in London and the Southwest also said it was the sport they watched the most.

The rugby numbers would tell a similar tale if it weren't for Wales' inclusion in the survey. 15% of those Welsh men and women said it was their primary sport on TV. That's more than double the percent of Scots (7%) that voted the sport their favourite and triple or more of that from all other groups.

East Anglians, the Northern Irish, and West Midlanders were the most indifferent to watching ruggers from home or at the pub.
What We Consume While We Watch
What is sport without food and drink to go along with it? Not much according to our respondents.
As you might venture a punt on, beer was the most popular drink to throw back while watching sport, with 27% saying it was their beverage of choice.

London, Yorkshire, and the Northeast particularly love swilling beer while watching sport, as evidenced by the 32%-34% that chose it in our survey.

A good, classy 15% chunk of sport fans also enjoyed drinking wine, while cider was third most popular at 14%.

Interestingly, a 33% majority said they preferred to stay lucid while watching sports and not drink any alcohol at all.
Accompanying these liquids were a variety of snack favourites. The number 1 go-to for over a quarter surveyed was crisps, followed distantly by chocolate and then nuts.

This category had significant division across gender, as men appeared 20% more likely to eat crisps and 70% more likely to eat nuts while watching sport.

Those over 65 are putting in serious effort to stay healthy, so they can presumably watch sport for many more years. They proved to be 60% more likely to snack on fruits and veggies than their younger counterparts.
Londoners proved to be the takeaway kings of the UK, with 59% of those surveyed grabbing at least one meal to go per week. That's probably not a surprise given how spoilt for choice Londoners are with dining options.
Those in some of England's other most populous regions also enjoyed this comforts of city life, especially respondents in the West Midlands, Northeast, and Yorkshire, of which 15-18% admitted to having take away multiple times per week.

Conversely, those in the Southeast, East Anglia, and Southwest regions of England prefer to dine in or at home the most, with 61-63% in each region saying they get takeaway zero times in a given week.
Fitness & Health
Londoners are also some of the most proactive about working off all those takeaways through exercise though
Nearly all (94%) of the Londoners in our survey exercise more than three hours per week, a rate bested only by Yorkshirians (95%).

Interestingly, that amount of working out seems to be the maximum those from Yorkshire are willing to put in in a given week. Just 25% of that group exercises more than six hours per week, tied for the lowest rate of any population along with the East Midlands.
They could learn a thing or two from the Welsh, the real gym rats of the Isles. Over a quarter (26%) of our Welsh friends devote that much time to burning off their bara brith and rarebit.

Not to be outdone, an impressive 17% of Scots say they exercise more than 9 hours per week.

The most exercise-averse regions were those in the Midlands, where a quarter of people said they never work out.
And for as much as the Welsh love working out, they also love saving their lungs. Just 16% of those surveyed are smoke regularly. Although 25% of all age groups said they never smoke.

Only 16% and 17% of those in the Southwest and East Midlands smoked, too.

The heaviest puffers were the Northern Ireland, North East, and London groups, of which 28-30% said they regularly enjoy cigarettes.
Wellness is a combination of habits and overall it was those in Wales and the Southwest that had the largest collection (96-98%) of non-smokers that exercised over three hours per week.

The Northern Irish on the other hand will have an entirely different answer when someone asks them 'Bout ye lad': and that is 'not well.'

With the lowest number of fit non-smokers and the highest number of non-exercisers that enjoy take out multiple times per week, it's no wonder that 60% of Northern Irish adults are obese.

The UK's Most and Least Healthy Sport Fans

So who are the healthiest sport fanatics in the UK?

Teasing out which groups watch the most sport per week, but also exercise a lot themselves, aren't smokers, and that don't drink alcohol or eat a lot of takeaways, there were two clear winners.

Although they aren't diehard watchers of sport, those in the Southwest finished in the top three of the most 'positive' categories.
On the flip side of those categories, there was no clear winner (or loser in this case).

The bottom five regions all seem equally disinterested in their health and/or watching sport, though each balanced that out by high percentages in more positive categories.

Our data did reveal that the older you get, the more time you seem to have for working out and eating healthily. It also shows that you have more time to watch sport, making us think that growing old might not be so bad after all.