NEW YORK — While the coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the health of the entire world, a new survey finds it’s also getting more people to think about their well-being than ever before. A poll of 2,005 Americans finds 69 percent care more about their immune health now than they did pre-pandemic.
According to the new research from OnePoll, 2020 has caused a shift in priorities for many Americans; with their health and the health of loved ones now among their biggest concerns. In fact, more Americans care about the health of their loved ones more than they do for their own well-being right now (86% vs. 74%).
The study, commissioned by Emergen-C, aimed to uncover Americans’ mindsets on immune health, the factors that contribute to their overall wellness, and how their health habits have been affected amidst the pandemic.
COVID-19 has created many bad health habits
More than half of the poll (52%) incorrectly believe their immune health is not something they can change. The pandemic has also caused more than two-thirds of Americans to feel more anxious when experiencing any negative health symptom.
Despite the increase in concern surrounding their well-being, the past year has caused a majority of Americans to note that their health has actually changed for the worse. However, while nearly 44 percent of respondents are aware that lack of proper sleep can hurt their immune health, only 37 percent make getting eight hours of sleep a priority in their everyday life.
Moreover, as a result of the pandemic, 48 percent of respondents say they are feeling stress more often. Another 42 percent are eating less healthy and 30 percent are sleeping worse.
“With health and wellness top-of-mind more than ever before, there has never been a better time to seek and implement actions focused on supporting one’s immune health into daily wellness routines since a healthy immune system helps protect the body” notes integrative and family medicine physician Dr. Bindiya Gandhi, MD, in a statement. “With that said, while wellness is often a priority during the winter months, immune health is crucial year-round, so I urge everyone to kick this year off with healthy habits that you can carry through the rest of the year, like exercise, stress management and incorporating the immune-supporting vitamins and minerals into their diet.”
How 2020 affected our immune health
Sixty-seven percent of Americans described their immune systems as strong prior to 2020. Now, more than 39 percent of Americans feel their immune health is weaker as a result of changes caused by the pandemic.
Nonetheless, 71 percent of Americans have an established daily wellness routine and two-thirds have made a more conscious effort to stock their home with health-related essentials. In fact, more than half the poll have purchased at-home workout gear, a treadmill, a standing bike, or a fitness membership. These respondents also take more vitamins and supplements daily, while nearly one quarter (23%) have participated in virtual therapy sessions.
The survey revealed that even though 64 percent of Americans think that incorporating healthy habits would be beneficial to their immune health, 50 percent do not know where to start when it comes to establishing a daily wellness routine.
“Our immune system is a crucial part of our overall health and wellbeing, as it’s our body’s natural defense system,” explains Dr. Bindiya. “In spite of how difficult our current circumstances have been this year, even small daily efforts made to improve one’s health can play a big role in supporting immune health. I applaud everyone who has committed to making such changes and it isn’t too late for everyone else!”