A new study has found that less than three percent of Americans are adhering to a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle consists of regular physical activity, eating well, and not smoking.
The study looked at over 4,700 individuals participating in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Survey. The researchers evaluated how closely the participants adhered to four general principals of healthy living: healthy eating, moderate exercise, not smoking, and managing body fat. Senior author Ellen Smit explained, “The behavior standards we were measuring for were pretty reasonable, not super high. We weren’t looking for marathon runners.”
The researchers found only less than three percent – 2.7 percent to be exact – of participants met the guidelines the researchers set out. Specifically, the researchers found that women were more likely to not smoke and to eat a healthier diet, compared to men, yet they were less likely to take part in moderate physical activity. Additionally, Mexican Americans were more likely to eat a healthy diet, compared to African Americans and whites.
Smit added, “This is pretty low, to have so few people maintaining what we would consider a healthy lifestyle. This is sort of mind boggling. There’s clearly a lot of room for improvement.”
Initiatives and further research must be conducted in order to come up with effective methods to get more Americans on a healthy lifestyle.
The findings were published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.