More Americans are behaving badly when it comes to health. A recent national poll of randomly selected adults living in the U.S. shows that American’s health habits… the typical American diet and being active aren’t getting better, but worse.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (WBI) Report for May 2011 offers up a score of 63.8 for May 2011, down from 65.2 for the same period the year before. Troubling too that health habits have been worse than last year in each of the three months of 2011, compared to the same period in 2010.
This Index is the first daily assessment of American’s health and well being, and is built around the interviews by phone of at least 1,000 adults conducted each and every day, 350 days a year.
The participants are asked a series of over 50 questions related to health and well-being that include smoking status as well as diet and exercise habits. The Well-Being Index is an average of six other figures… Life Evaluation, Physical Health, Emotional Health, Healthy Behavior, Work Environment and Basic Access.
The examination of Healthy Behavior measures lifestyle factors that experts know relate to health. Things like smoking, eating a balanced diet including weekly consumption of fruits and veggies, and engaging in regular exercise.
According to the most recent numbers, fewer Americans are eating the way they should, with the index for healthy eating going down two full points, from 68.2 in 2010, to 66.2 in May 2011.
We’re not eating the same amount of fruits and veggies we did in 2010… the numbers eating five or more servings a day at least four days a week dropped from 57.8% to 55.9%. Fewer of us across demographic groups are eating these foods a lot; the consumption of produce is down among lots of groups, young adults, women, Hispanics, and seniors than in 2010.
In fact, 4.5 million fewer Americans ate healthy in May than at this time last year.
It may be that increases in the price of gas as well as other economic hardships have forced people to spend less on food, with the less healthy options typically the more affordable ones. But there are other factors that are taking the numbers in the wrong direction. These include…
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Poll: Eating Habits Of Americans Worse Than Ever… Continued…
– More Americans are smoking, the survey found that 20.8% of people asked in May 2011 reported they smoked, and that’s up from 20.2% last year.
- The number of respondents who exercise for 30 minutes or more at least three days of the week went down 53.6% to 52.9%.
- The findings are so troubling because the month of May tends to kick off the strongest months in terms of healthy eating.
The findings are designed to represent virtually 98% of the adult population of the country, so the Well-Being Index is a fairly accurate, real time look at just where we stand. And while making changes, to what we eat or how active we are, isn’t easy, it’s a smart step in order to keep yourself healthy and free of disease.
Making changes to the the typical American diet and lifestyle, what you eat and how active (or inactive) you are isn’t easy, but it can be done. Start by being aware of the bad habits you want to change and learn why these habits exist in the first place. Then make plans for the slow, simple changes to your bad eating (or exercise) habits. Take things one step at a time… slow but steady and you’ll be amazed how soon you’re living healthier, feeling better.