Consumers from five EU states interviewed by research firm Globescan earlier this year cited either stress or tobacco (17 per cent for each) as the biggest health risk.
But only 10 per cent said overweight had the greatest negative impact on health and 7 per cent suggested having an unbalanced diet as the biggest health risk.
The British were the most aware of health risks linked to unbalanced diets and unhealthy lifestyles - 15 per cent of the British considered being overweight as the greatest risk (the highest score of all five countries) against 6 per cent for the French (the lowest).
In addition, the majority of consumers consider their dietary habits as healthy, even among those who claim to be overweight, heard those attending the CIAA's annual conference held in Brussels last week.
But consumers also consider public and school education programmes as the most effective means to fight against obesity - 43 per cent of those surveyed viewed education as the most effective way to promote healthy lifestyles and balanced dietary habits.
Respectively 17 and 13 per cent support the reformulation of existing products and the provision of additional information on the nutritional content of food, while only 8 per cent of people surveyed consider that restricting the advertising of low nutritional value food products is an effective tool. More than 60 per cent of consumers are opposed to a tax on foods with little nutritional value, revealed the survey.
Indeed Jacques Vincent, vice-chairman of Danone, stressed the important role played by the food and drink industry both in the development of new products and in the reformulation of existing products.
In his opening speech he said: "Even in gourmet products it is possible to make nutritional improvements and industry is doing so."
He also called for efforts regarding the nutritional education of children.
More information on the survey can be found on the website for the conference ('Food futures: Eating well, feeling good').