NEW YORK — Three-quarters of Americans believe the COVID pandemic has helped them realize they need to prioritize their health more than they have in the past, according to new research. The survey of 2,000 Americans reveals the global crisis has given them a chance to become healthier and focus on what matters most.
Seventy-four percent of respondents feel their physical health is just as important as their mental and emotional health: becoming healthier is not just tackling one area for most respondents. In all, 82 percent believe a healthy diet is integral to their overall wellness. However, diet isn’t America’s only area of focus. The vast majority (88%) have developed a variety of healthy habits during the past 18 months.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of MegaFood, the survey looked at what matters when it comes to our health and wellness and how our approach to physical, emotional, and mental health may have shifted in the last year and a half.
The survey found that millennials (84%) and boomers (66%) can find common ground as they both agree they take a holistic approach to their health, meaning they care for their person as a whole — providing for physical, mental, spiritual and social needs.
Men in the survey were slightly more likely to take a holistic approach to their health, compared to women (83% vs. 75%).
Further supporting the holistic approach, when asked to rate various aspects of their lifestyle, to see which mattered the most, emotional and mental health came in first (7.2 out of 10) and physical health followed in a close second (7.1). Ranking the lowest among the provided choices was job security (5.5).
“It’s no surprise that in 2021, our health and well-being are our top priorities when ranked against other lifestyle aspects,” says Erin Stokes, Naturopathic Doctor and Medical Director at MegaFood in a statement. “And more than half of respondents (53%) noted that the #1 way they take care of their physical health is by eating a healthy diet.”
Therapy continues to divide different generations
While most respondents are prioritizing their health and wellness in 2021, not everyone is going about it the same way.
Forty-five percent of millennials are most likely to talk to a therapist to care for their mental health, whereas only eight percent of baby boomers use therapy as a mental health tool.
Conversely, baby boomers are most likely to incorporate vitamins and supplements into their diet (76%), compared to Gen X and millennials (65% and 68%, respectively). While respondents focused on their own health these last 18 months, they also noted other forms of self-care.
It’s not just our personal health that matters, researchers also asked the poll about the health of our planet and how much that matters. Seventy-eight percent of Americans agree that it is important we address the health of our soil to ensure we have more nutrients in our food. Three-fourths of respondents care about climate-friendly farming practices.
“For the future health of our planet, it’s important for people to support farming systems that protect and nourish the soil,” Stokes adds. “One way that people can take positive action is to look for brands who are committed to regenerative agriculture and replenishing soil health.”