If You Think You're Healthy, You're Probably Mistaken
Ian Allen for Self
Do you think you're healthy? Well, healthier than the average American, perhaps. But healthy by industry standards? Probably not.
According to a recent study, the percentage of Americans who actually lead healthy lives is startlingly low. To be rated among this healthy group, you had to check four categories: eat a balanced diet, engage in moderate exercise for 150 minutes a week, have under 20% body fat for men and under 30% for women, and not smoke. So what did the study find?
Looking at nearly 5000 participants whose behaviors were tracked for them (meaning there was no room for exaggeration), only 2.7% made the grade. Yep, less than 3% of Americans are considered healthy by these relatively loose standards.
Writing from Los Angeles, we find this study mind-boggling. After all, there's no denying the seemingly widespread proliferation of healthy lifestyle choices. From morning açaí bowls to kale sweatshirts gone viral to CrossFit, yoga, PopPhysique, and more, we definitely find ourselves in a wave of health awareness (even obsession).
Of course, as The Atlantic notes, "Meeting more of these qualifications was associated with having fewer risk factors for cardiovascular disease—things like high cholesterol, high white blood cell counts, and high blood pressure." Interestingly, 13% of people were actually active, healthy eating nonsmokers. Where 77% of that (meager, though less worrisome than 3%) 13% fell off was in body fat percentage.
The data was collected between 2003 and 2006, so we have a feeling that we might be doing a bit better these days amidst all of that health talk. All the same, we'll be looking back to this list of simple ways to be healthier every day.
Are you shocked by these findings? Tell us below.