If most of us know it’s the right thing to do, why do so few of us do it? The keys to a healthier lifestyle are pretty simple:
- Be physically active;
- Eat a healthy diet;
- Keep body fat down; and
- Don’t smoke.
According to a new study just released by the Mayo clinic, a stunningly low number of Americans can check off all four. How low? How about less than 3 percent!
Only 2.7 percent of the Americans in the study were nonsmokers who ate a reasonably good diet, including eating plenty of vegetables and whole grains and avoiding saturated fat; got at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week; and had a healthy percentage of body fat, defined as up to 20 percent for men and 30 percent for women.
The results were “shocking,” said Ellen Smit, an associate professor at Oregon State University College of Public Health and Human Sciences and the senior author of the report. “I think it’s a wake-up call.”
To put that 2.7 percent number into perspective, 3.1 percent of American households own birds. So, you are more likely to know a family that owns a bird than you are knowing someone who lives a healthy lifestyle.
An online story in theatlantic.com found that, “The healthy body weight seems to be the sticking point, because 13 percent of people were nonsmoking, active, healthy eaters. There were some demographic differences: Men were more likely to be active, while women were more likely to be non-smokers and to eat healthy diets. Older people had higher body-fat percentages and were less active than younger people.”
CBSnews.com wrote, “Overall, 71 percent of the adults surveyed did not smoke, 38 percent ate a healthy diet, 10 percent had a normal body fat percentage and 46 percent got sufficient amounts of physical activity.”
The researchers emphasized that meeting all four goals is important because these factors have been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other medical conditions.
And yet, less than 3 percent of us managed to accomplish all four. Let us know why you think we are falling so far short – and what we can do to change those numbers. Think about it, if we could just move the number in Arizona to 4 or 5 percent…..it would go a long way toward helping us meet our goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!