Following A Healthy Lifestyle Is On
Decline In U.S.
well-known benefits of having a lifestyle that includes physical
activity, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a
healthy weight, moderate alcohol use and not smoking, only a small
proportion of adults follow this healthy lifestyle pattern, and in
fact, the numbers are declining, according to an article published in
the June 2009 issue of The American Journal of Medicine.
choices are associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease as well
from the Department of Family Medicine, Medical University of South
Carolina, Charleston compared the results of two large-scale studies of
the US population in 1988-1994 and in 2001-2006. In the intervening 18
years, the percentage of adults aged 40-74 years with a body mass index
greater than 30 has increased from 28% to 36%; physical activity 12
times a month or more has decreased from 53% to 43%; smoking rates have
not changed (26.9% to 26.1%); eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables a
day has decreased from 42% to 26%; and moderate alcohol use has
increased from 40% to 51%. The number of people adhering to all 5
healthy habits has decreased from 15% to 8%.
Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a national survey
of non-institutionalized persons in the US conducted regularly by the
National Center for Health Statistics. The researchers used data from a
sub sample of the NHANES surveys of 1988-1994 and 2001-2006, adults
aged 40-74 years, because this age span is the primary time for initial
diagnosis of cardiovascular risk factors and disease. In the NHANES
1988-1994, the number of respondents 40-74 years old was 7340,
representing a weighted sample size of 78,794,217. For NHANES
2001-2006, the number of respondents was 7811, for a weighted sample
size of 65,476,573.
with diagnosed health conditions such as cardiovascular disease,
diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol were part of the samples,
the researchers sought to determine whether such individuals were
adhering to the healthy habits to a greater or lesser degree than
people without those conditions, and whether adherence had changed over
time. The study also concluded that people with cardiovascular disease,
diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or risk factors for
those conditions, were no more likely to adhere to a healthy lifestyle
pattern than people without such risk factors.
the article, Dana E. King, MD, MS, stated, "The potential public health
benefits from promoting a healthier lifestyle at all ages, and
especially ages 40-74 years, are substantial. Regular physical activity
and a prudent diet can reduce the risk of premature death and
disability from a variety of conditions including coronary heart
disease, and are strongly related to the incidence of obesity. In the
US, medical costs due to physical inactivity and its consequences
areestimated at $76 billion in 2000 dollars. Research indicates that
individuals are capable of adopting healthy habits in middle age, and
making an impact on cardiovascular risk."
more information on The American Journal of Medicine, visit www.amjmed.com