Mental Health and Physical Strength are the “New Healthy”

Mental Health and Physical Strength are the “New Healthy”

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 What exactly do Americans consider to be healthy in 2018? Parade magazine and Cleveland Clinic recently joined forces to take the pulse of Americans’ behaviors and attitudes toward health today.

The findings from the Parade/Cleveland Clinic Healthy Now survey include:

Being Strong, Both Physically And Mentally, Is The New Healthy.

  • 75% of Americans would rather be seen as physically strong than thin (25%).
  • 79% of Americans would rather be seen as smart than sexy (21%).
  • About two-thirds (68%) strongly believe that mental health is just as important as physical health.

Americans Are Fed Up With Society’s Unrealistic Body Image Expectations.

  • 88% of Americans believe society sets unrealistic body image expectations.
  • Significantly more Americans want to be described by others as positive (57%), mentally sharp (43%), balanced (34%) and energetic (25%) than thin (9%).

We Don’t Have To Be Perfect To Be Healthy.

  • Almost seven-in-ten (67%) people agree that it is possible to be both healthy and dealing with a chronic illness.

Americans Know What To Do To Help Prevent Their Biggest Health Concerns, But Few Follow Through.

The risk of cancer is the biggest fear for Americans, both for themselves (39%) and for their loved ones (44%), followed by heart disease/heart attack (31% for themselves vs. 40% for loved ones) and Alzheimer’s/dementia (22% for themselves vs. 27% for their loved ones).

  • Though roughly nine-in-ten (89%) agree that getting an annual physical or check-up is important, only half (51%) actually follow through.
  • 83% know that eating five or more servings of vegetables a day is important when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, but only one-fifth (20%) of Americans are currently eating enough vegetables daily.
  • Furthermore, while people consider low sugar (35%) and low carb (28%) to be the healthiest diet options, only two-in-five (40%) are willing to give up sugar or carbs to improve their health.

Americans Are Confused About How To Balance Diet And Exercise.

  • About three-quarters (72%) of Americans think that exercising is more important than watching their diet.
  • Additionally, two-in-five (40%) believe that if they work out for an hour daily, they can eat whatever they want for the rest of the day.

Americans Want Clear, Concise Information And Advice About Health.  

  • About two-thirds of people want to improve their health but feel there is too much conflicting information out there these days about the best way to do so (63%) and they need help determining what the best methods are for them to improve their health (66%).

“When I see these results, it shows me that people want to create real health—they want to be strong and feel good both mentally and physically,” says Mark Hyman, M.D., director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine.  “For years, Americans have heard conflicting information about diet and exercise, and many of them are so confused they have just given up. The truth is, you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet, and eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated.”

Lisa Delaney, SVP/Chief Content Officer of Parade says, “There’s a real opportunity for health care professionals and the media to encourage Americans to make the kind of small, simple lifestyle changes that go a long way when it comes to physical and mental health.” Delaney says. “Something as simple as taking a walk before dinner instead of watching TV, or eating a salad for lunch instead of a burger are the building blocks of a stronger, fitter body and mind.”

Some other notable survey stats:

  • 43% of Americans weigh themselves at least weekly.
  • 56% think that living healthy is too expensive for them.
  • A majority of Americans don’t go to the doctor right away when noticing changes in their health but 68% go within two weeks.
  • Most Americans (67%) see breakthrough cancer treatments as very important to improving healthcare.
 

About the author

Marie Elium spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter in Virginia and Ohio before switching to freelance writing when her two children were young. The kids are now Millennials, but writing continues to be one of her favorite endeavors. Marie was named editor of Northeast Ohio Boomer and Beyond magazine in November 2015 and is a graduate of Miami University. Marie can be reached at [email protected]

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