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New Survey Reveals Surprising Health Statistics

Posted by Lisa LaGrou May 24, 2012 Family Health

altThe folks at Reader’s Digest and Humana Health Care have sent over some interesting health statistics based on a survey of a thousand Americans they polled about healthy living.

Despite our best efforts to make healthy decisions, the survey of 1,000 Americans polled consumers on their health and well being and showed that many Americans are continuing to compromise their health in ways that can lead to chronic disease.

A few notable survey findings include:

  • Working moms are more likely (58 percent) to participate in regular daily physical activities (e.g. taking walks, using stairs, going to a gym) than working dads (37 percent).
  • Fewer Americans are getting their recommended fruits, but those who are tend to be working moms (23% eating 3+ servings of fruit), working dads (20%), and Americans who are active 3 to 4 days a week (22%).
  • Working moms (19%), and Americans who go the gym daily (15%) are most likely to have had four or more fast food meals over the last week.
  • Only one in 10 Americans drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day (10% don’t ever drink water and substitute it with an average of 2.6 cans of soda a day)
  • Working moms (56% any soda) are drinking more soda than working dads (46%) —moms average a can and half (1.56) of soda daily to dads’ single can (0.99).
  • Moms and dads who need a pick-me-up are turning to soda, not coffee, for some extra caffeine—working moms only drink 1.18 cups of coffee a day, dads have 0.71.
  • Only 26 percent of Americans eat 3-5 servings of vegetables a day
  • Only 14 percent of Americans eat 3-5 servings of fruit a day
  • Only 1 in 10 drink the recommended 8 glasses of water per day

Also, one third of Americans do not eat fruit as part of their overall diet, one in 10 Americans drink no water during the day, and one in 10 Americans have four or more meals from a fast food restaurant over the course of each week. Equally as concerning, Americans are sedentary for slightly more than 7 hours a day – more time than is typically spent sleeping.

“As a physician, I have an understanding that all patients don’t follow ‘doctor’s orders’ to get enough sleep, exercise and eat right,” said Philip Painter, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Humana’s Health Guidance Organization. “However, having this view of the unhealthy choices that so many Americans are making is alarming and makes it clear how focused we need to be about helping people take those small, meaningful steps, for example, ordering water instead of soda or picking up an apple as a snack.”

“These results highlight an important issue, primarily that while we understand the negative effects of certain health behaviors, we do little to make positive, impactful changes,” said Tom Liston, President of Humana’s Retail Segment, which includes health plans sold directly to individuals, such as Medicare plans. “Through this research we hope to better understand the state of health in America today and further Humana’s dream of helping people achieve lifelong well-being.”

The survey segmented demographic groups into sub-categories, allowing for a more comprehensive snapshot of different age groups. Similar to most Americans, many seniors are making questionable diet and fitness choices. Most seniors are still not managing to get the recommended 3 to 5 servings of both fruits and vegetables daily. In addition, seniors are drinking less water than Americans overall and few exercise regularly.  In fact, 42 percent of seniors (compared to 29 percent of Americans overall) engage in no physical activity that raises their heart rate over the course of a week.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Working moms are more likely (58 percent) to participate in regular daily physical activities (e.g. taking walks, using stairs, going to a gym) than working dads (37 percent).
  • Four in five Americans say they would choose receiving $5,000 over losing 10 pounds.
  • Nearly four of five seniors (79 percent) rate their health positively.

About Reader’s Digest
Reader’s Digest simplifies and enriches consumers’ lives by discovering and expertly selecting the most interesting ideas, stories, experiences and products in health, home, family, food, finance and humor.  Recognized by 99% of American adults, Reader’s Digest is available in print; online at ReadersDigest.com; via digital download on iPad, mobile apps, Kindle, Kindle Fire, Nook, Sony Reader and Zinio; books and home entertainment products; Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. Obtain a subscription at www.ReadersDigest.com or on your favorite digital download device.

About Humana
Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is a leading health care company that offers a wide range of insurance products and health and wellness services that incorporate an integrated approach to lifelong well-being. By leveraging the strengths of its core businesses, Humana believes it can better explore opportunities for existing and emerging adjacencies in health care that can further enhance wellness opportunities for the millions of people across the nation with whom the company has relationships.
More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company’s website.

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