NEW YORK — Half of Americans aren’t taking great care of their health and well-being, new research shows. A survey of 2,000 respondents found 53 percent don’t consider their lifestyle “healthy,” and the same number don’t feel capable of improving their health.
The poll split respondents up by their current household income, with results showing those with a lower income are more likely to agree with this sentiment. Of those with an income between $30,000 and $60,000, about two-thirds don’t feel capable of improving their health — compared to only about half of respondents with an income between $60,000 and $100,000.
Regardless of their income, when asked what’s holding them back from living a healthier lifestyle, a lack of understanding topped the list — 39 percent don’t understand the best actions to take in order to be healthy. Feeling overwhelmed with different options (39%) and the cost (36%) followed closely behind.
Harder to improve the body or the mind?
Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Fullscript for World Health Day, the survey looked beyond the barriers respondents are experiencing and also delved into their overall health journey. On average, respondents started (or expect to start) taking their health seriously at age 36. Two in three are currently prioritizing their health more than ever before.
When asked which areas of their health they’re focusing on, physical health comes out on top (78%), followed by mindfulness/mental health (73%) and nutrition/healthy eating (65%). Even with physical health being the area respondents are prioritizing most, it’s also the area people find most difficult to make positive changes to.
Seventy-five percent of respondents think it was easy to make positive changes to their mental health, while 72 percent say the same for their nutrition. Physical health was slightly lower, with seven in 10 respondents saying it was easy to make those impactful changes. Respondents are also aware of how the different areas of their health connect: 73 percent recognize that improving one aspect of their health helps improve the 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.”
One small step to being healthy
Twenty-eight percent say they make a conscious effort to “get healthy” every day — and for many, this occurs with small steps. In order to feel healthy, respondents are focusing on healthy eating (43%) and regular exercise (42%), as well as taking time for themselves every day (41%).
When it comes to their health journey, respondents are relying most on themself (41%) — followed by their partner or spouse (38%) and their doctor (37%). Even then, 50 percent would like their doctor to play a 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.”