Americans Aren’t Making the Health Grade
The above headline comes from the June 30, 2003 ABC News online. The story is in reaction to a report commissioned by the American Academy of Family Physicians which finds that a full 98 percent of the 1,000 adults polled admit they have at least one of the unhealthy habits they were asked about, such as smoking, not exercising enough, handling stress poorly or eating a less-than-healthful diet.
Among the findings from the study that were listed in the article are:
- Twenty-six percent said they smoke at least sometimes, and half of these people acknowledged it’s a harmful habit.
- Only 48 percent said they maintain a healthy weight.
- About 42 percent of women and 31 percent of men said they aren’t doing well at stress management.
- Thirty-two percent said they don’t limit dietary fat.
- Only 25 percent said they work out vigorously five or more hours a week.
- Thirteen percent said they don’t have time to watch their fat intake, and 47 percent gave no reason for not watching it.
When asked why they continue a habit that’s unhealthy, 24 percent said they lack willpower or self-control, and another 14 percent said stress was to blame. Dr. Michael O. Fleming, a family physician in Shreveport, La., and president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians, which commissioned the health behavior poll made this suggestion, “The main thing is to begin to take things seriously,” Fleming says. People must realize the importance of managing risk factors for disease, he says, or they’ll pay the price, probably sooner than they think.