The “Moderately unhealthy” could be a key target of change. 39.7% of our sample can be defined as “moderately unhealthy” (with 2-3 unhealthy behaviours or conditions each). If one quarter of these people could stop one unhealthy behaviour, we would see an increase in the healthy population from 25.6% to 35.5%. The moderately unhealthy population is mostly made up of “head in the sand”, “unhealthy and I know it” and “optimists” types.
Micro-targeting of the “moderately unhealthy” middle of our population could slow the deterioration of public health and even spark a radical upgrade. Therefore, in light of our findings, we recommend a review the regions’ portfolio of interventions that seek to help moderately unhealthy people to become healthy. Efforts are needed to empathise with and better understand this group, then develop smarter interventions and communications to trigger, deliver and maintain behaviour change.