How much do we care about our health? Do we make an effort to lead a healthy lifestyle? How well are we doing? These facts and figures give us a few insights.
Holistic Health Outranks Wealth
Emotional and physical well-being are more important to Americans than money and career, according to a survey by a national trade association of health clubs. When 1,400 people were asked to rank various aspects of life as essential or important, 97 percent chose emotional well-being and 96 percent selected physical health, but only 78 percent and 75 percent, respectively, selected career and money.
Source: International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association
Healthy Lifestyle: A Rare Commodity
Only three percent of American adults follow a healthy lifestyle — not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating five or more fruits and vegetables daily, and being active. That’s what researchers at Michigan State University in East Lansing concluded after examining the lifestyle habits of 153,000 people.
Source: Archives of Internal Medicine
Strange Park Habits
Last year, more than 276 million people visited North America’s National Parks but only 10 percent ventured more than a mile from their cars, according to statistics compiled by Austin-Lehman Adventures, a company that organizes guided adventure vacations. Perhaps we’re confusing parks with parking lots.
Source: Austin Lehman Adventures
Eating for Health
Eating a nutrient-dense diet with 10 to 25 percent fewer calories than the American average can dramatically reduce the risk for diseases associated with aging. A six-year study showed that middle-aged people eating 1,100 to 1,950 calories daily, containing 26 percent protein, 28 percent fat and 46 percent complex carbohydrates, had blood-pressure levels comparable to 10-year-olds and triglyceride levels of 20-year-olds.
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
The Organic Plant Advantage
You can get up to 60 percent more antioxidants from some fruits and vegetables by eating organically grown varieties. University of California, Davis researchers found that organic corn, strawberries and Marion berries produce significantly higher levels of antioxidant compounds when they have to fend for themselves against insects. Pesticides diminish the plants’ antioxidant-producing abilities.
Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
RVs Encourage Healthy Vacations
Ninety-four percent of people who vacation in an RV say they lead a healthier lifestyle on the road, according to a survey by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association in Reston, VA. While traveling, 40 percent of RV enthusiasts walk three to ten miles daily, 85 percent experience less stress, and 75 percent cook their own meals rather than relying on fast food.
Source: Recreation Vehicle Industry Association
Walk or Run?
“Studies indicate that if you can walk a mile in 12 minutes you get exactly the same energy expenditure as running a mile in nine minutes,” says Kenneth Cooper, M.D., at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, TX. Cooper originally coined the term “aerobics” as we know it today, and pioneered the use of exercise to prevent heart disease. Injury strikes 65 percent of runners but only 21 percent of walkers.
Source: Kenneth Cooper, M.D., and Sports Injury Bulletin
Living for a Century
If you’re in your 40s or 50s, you have a one-in-twenty chance of living to age 100 in good health, according to Tom Perls, M.D., who heads an ongoing study of centenarians at Boston University School of Medicine. Most likely, you will at least reach your mid 80s. The Census Bureau expects 757,000 Americans to be a century old by 2045. A diet that keeps you lean, regular exercise and not smoking will improve your odds of celebrating your 100th birthday.
Source: Tom Perls, M.D., and United States Census Bureau