Despite the well-known research, over half of Americans are not taking very good care of themselves. According to a recent survey, 53% report that they do not consider their lifestyle as being healthy for the mind or body, and alarmingly the same amount of respondents report that they don’t feel that they are capable of improving their health.
This survey was commissioned by Fullscript for World Health Day 2022 (April 7th) and conducted by OnePoll. It was designed to investigate possible barriers that Americans experience on their health and well-being lifestyle journey, finding that on average most people start taking their health more seriously at around 36 years old, and 2 out of 3 are currently trying to prioritize their health more now than previously.
78% of respondents are focusing on physical health, 73% report working on their mental health and mindfulness, and 65% are trying to improve nutrition with healthy eating habits. While most people are prioritizing physical health this is also the area most find it difficult to make positive changes in with 75% believing that it was easy to make positive changes for mental health, 72% reporting the same for nutrition, and 7 out of 10 saying it was easy to make impactful changes to physical health. The majority of respondents (73%) report being aware that the different areas of health connect and recognize that improving one aspect of health can help improve others.
“Making sustainable lifestyle changes are essential but can be hard,” says Jeff Gladd, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Fullscript, in a statement. “While the foundation of health involves incorporating good nutrition, physical exercise, and mindfulness into a daily routine, trying to change all at once might feel overwhelming. Instead, focus on long-term health goals by making gradual efforts to generate momentum and create healthy habits that will last.”
Poll respondents were broken into groups of current household income, results showed that those with a lower income are more likely to agree with the unhealthy lifestyle that can’t be improved sentiment. Among those with an income between $30-60,000, two-thirds report not feeling capable of improving their health, compared to close to half of those with an income between $60-100,000.
When asked what was holding them back from living a healthier lifestyle, regardless of income, the most reported response was a lack of understanding with 39% admitting to not understanding the best steps to take in order to be more healthy, 39% feeling overwhelmed with different options, and 36% said that they think the cost might be too expensive.
28% report taking baby steps towards making a conscious effort to become more healthy every day with 43% focusing on eating more healthy, 42% focusing on regular exercise, and 41% focusing on being more mindful by taking time out for themselves every day. When it comes to being more healthful in this journey 41% are relying on themselves the most, 38% report asking their partner/spouse for support, and 37% have had consultations with their physicians. However, 50% say that they would like their doctor to play a much bigger role in their personal health journey.
“We believe that a person’s well-being is best guided by a practitioner who can understand their goals and offer the most achievable starting point for their health journey — therefore, we weren’t surprised to see that half of respondents would like their doctor to play a larger role in their health,” Gladd says. “Through regular care, this relationship will help guide sustainable progress, as well as support any disruptions to momentum.”
It is never too late to start living a more healthful lifestyle. There are many things that can be incorporated into your day to get you well on your way such as taking the stairs, walking to the further bathroom or water cooler, parking a little further from your destination, getting off a stop early from public transportation, carrying a water bottle rather than getting a soda, pack fruits and vegetables to snack on rather than junk food or processed snacks, cook at home more, take your breaks outside to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine, leisure sports/activities, go for a walk around the block, or perhaps take a nice stroll in the park, listening to some music to unwind for the day, and going to bed without your electronic devices on hand to disturb your sleep.
There may be some setbacks or pit stops along the way, but that is not failing nor is it the end, these are merely an opportunity to learn, adapt and keep moving forward in your quest to live a happier, healthier, and longer life. Never forget that you are worth every effort.