America struggling to keep up with other countries in exercise, general health during pandemic

New global survey shows that Americans aren’t losing weight or feeling as energized during the day as much as others from across the world.

NEW YORK — As the world tries to move past COVID-19, health is top of mind for many. Eight in 10 Americans believe their health is a “work in progress,” and many are now taking steps to improve their lifestyles.

According to a new survey of 13,000 people in 24 countries — including 2,000 in the U.S. — this feeling isn’t unique to Americans. Eighty-two percent of people globally feel the same (compared to 84% of Americans), and 89 percent of all respondents are currently taking steps to improve their health.

America vs. field in the ‘Health Olympics’

Healthy habitsOf those, 81 percent think the pandemic helped kickstart them into doing so — and these steps are having a clear impact on respondents’ health. In fact, globally, 56 percent of respondents can now run or exercise longer without feeling winded, while 48 percent have gone down a size or a belt notch.

Unfortunately, Americans aren’t faring as well. Only a third (32%) say they’re now able to exercise longer without feeling winded, while only 29 percent have gone down a size or a belt notch over the course of the pandemic.

Additionally, 53 percent of global respondents have more energy throughout the day, compared to 29 percent of American respondents.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Herbalife Nutrition and the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the survey finds the average respondent is currently working to break three unhealthy habits. Researchers also delved into the specific small steps that respondents are taking to do so.

Respondents reveal they started their journey to be healthier by exercising more, cooking and eating healthier foods or downloading a fitness app. Purchasing less junk food, beginning to take walks during their lunch break, and taking vitamins or supplements are other “first steps” respondents are taking — or plan to take to support their health.

Supplemental shortcuts

Healthy habitsThe survey delved further into vitamins and supplements and discovered they’re a priority for many respondents across the globe. When asked about how their health goals have changed during the pandemic, half say they’re more focused on eating healthier, including supplementing their diet with vitamins and minerals.

Of those who currently take vitamins or supplements, results reveal the average respondent spends about $286 every year on these products. Americans are slightly above that, at an average of $304 per year.

“Be it exercising, healthy cooking or including more vitamins and supplements to your routine, for many, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to improve health habits overall,” says Dr. Kent Bradley, Chief Health and Nutrition Officer, Herbalife Nutrition, in a statement. “Consistency is key when one commits to a healthy lifestyle.

While many respondents plan to incorporate more vitamins and supplements into their diet, only 69 percent feel knowledgeable about the health benefits those can offer.

Thirty percent of respondents say they are most likely to get information about vitamins and supplements from internet searches, media and social media, followed by consulting with their doctor (27%). Regardless of where they currently get information, 77 percent would like to know more about the nutritional benefits of different vitamins and supplements to support their health.

“Being well informed about the proper use, as well as benefits of nutritional supplements is critical as supplements can enhance every wellness journey,” adds Brian Wommack, SVP of the Council for Responsible Nutrition.