In touch with your body? 73% of adults don’t know what many of their organs actually do

NEW YORK — While most people can probably tell you the name of all their body parts, that knowledge is apparently only skin deep. From the pancreas, to the gallbladder, to the human digestive system, a new survey finds nearly three in four Americans (73%) don’t know what many of their organs do or how they work.

The OnePoll survey of 2,000 people asked respondents how well they know their bodies and found that most need to head back to biology class. Respondents were shown a diagram of the digestive tract and asked to identify the locations and functions of different internal organs. Though people seemed fairly confident about where different organs are located, they were less familiar with their functions.

Close to seven in 10 people (69%) could identify where their small intestine is, but only 44 percent could accurately describe what it does. Sixty-five percent could identify their large intestine, but only 29 percent could say what it does. The most inaccurately identified organs include the pancreas (45%) and the gallbladder (43%). When asked to describe their functions, only 52 percent and 48 percent did so correctly respectively. Out of all the organs, only 38 percent of people could accurately describe what their colon does.

COVID providing a health awakening

Commissioned by Physician’s Choice, the survey also revealed that since the pandemic began, 81 percent of Americans are more concerned about their health than ever before. When examining their own health, about six in 10 feel like they’re in worse shape both mentally (62%) and physically (58%) than at this same point last year.

COVID health concerns

While many may not fully understand their bodies, eight in 10 Americans recognize how gut health plays an important role in their immune system health. Five out of six respondents say they recognize how their gut health plays an important role in their overall health. Despite this healthy awakening, 44 percent of Americans have failed to visit their primary physician this year for a check-up.

“We believe there is a resurging importance in taking care of oneself,” says Logan Chierotti, CEO of Physician’s Choice, in a statement. “We all recognize how this year has served many with a dose of reality. Taking action on your health — be it through research, dieting, exercising, using supplements, or even talking with a doctor — should be a top priority for people as we enter the new year.”

When it comes to self-improvement, 41 percent of respondents want to maintain a balanced diet. Nearly as many (40%) want to lose weight and more than a third want to improve their immune or digestive health (36% and 35%, respectively). Three-quarters of Americans have begun taking active steps to better their immune system health during COVID-19. During the pandemic, 41 percent of people have found exercising to be the most helpful and impactful way of improving their health.

Ways Americans are putting their bodies first

COVID health concerns

In order to address their health concerns in 2020, people will read an average of three books, listen to four podcasts, try three diets, and do four exercise routines.

Two-thirds (66%) of Americans currently take probiotics or have taken them within the past year. Half as many (35%) take them to be more regular and to benefit their general health. More than seven in 10 people prefer improving their health through nutritional habits rather than taking prescription medications (71%) and over-the-counter medications or supplements (76%).

“When we looked at the study results, we found people pay close attention to the clinical evidence of probiotics. People inherently want to be healthier, and a large part of that includes looking for tools that can help them do that safely,” Chierotti adds. “Instead of medicines that can have unnecessary side effects, probiotics offer people a natural way to not only improve their immune system, but improve their overall gut health.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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