Less Than 3 Percent of Americans Live a Healthy Lifestyle
The unflattering stats mount: More than half of what Americans eat is “ultra-processed.”
The average American man has a body mass index just barely under the medical definition of obese. In a 2013 ranking of affluent countries’ health, the United States came in last.
Here’s another bummer of a statistic to toss on the pile: Less than 3 percent of Americans meet the basic qualifications for a “healthy lifestyle,” according to a new study published in
Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
The study authors defined a “healthy lifestyle” as one that met four qualifications:
Moderate or vigorous exercise for at least 150 minutes a week
A diet score in the top 40 percent on the
Healthy Eating Index
A body fat percentage under 20 percent (for men) or 30 percent (for women)
The researchers looked at data from a representative sample of 4,745 people who participated in the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.In this survey, physical activity was measured with an accelerometer that participants wore for a week, and diet was scored based on a 24-hour food diary.
71.5 percent of adults were non-smokers
(and indeed the smoking rate has been declining in the U.S. for decades), 46.5 percent got enough exercise, 37.9 percent had a healthy diet, but only 9.6 percent had what the study calls
“a normal body-fat percentage.”JUST 2.7 PERCENT OF PEOPLE MET ALL FOUR.
Men were more likely to be active, while women were more likely to be non-smokers and to eat healthy diets. Older people had higher body-fat percentages and were less active than younger people.
“Although multiple healthy lifestyle characteristics are important, specific healthy lifestyle characteristics may explain much of the variation for several of the biomarkers,”