The numbers are tough to ignore. Six in ten American drink alcohol regularly, while only three in ten get regular exercise according to an annual study on health behaviors in the U.S. Ignore tips for health at your peril.
The report covers a range of both good and bad health habits of American adults – these include using alcohol, smoking, being active regularly, your body weight and the amount of sleep you get.
The study used data from the 2005-2007 National Health Interview Survey (known as NHIS for short), conducted each year by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. The results are based on data collected from 79,096 interviews with American adults 18 years and older. The responses highlight differences between gender, ethnic and social groups when it comes to many common behaviors.
In terms of alcohol, rates of use have remained stable over the years. The latest survey found that…
– Men were more apt than women to drink (68% vs. 55%); women were more likely than men to abstain from alcohol (31% vs. 18%).
– Whites were more likely than any other groups (African-Americans, Asians, Native Americans, or Alaska Natives) to indulge in alcohol.
– And here’s a surprise – the more educated a respondent, the more likely they were to drink. Seventy-four percent of those with a graduate degree were drinkers, compared to 44% of respondents who’d earned a high school diploma.
We all know how dangerous cigarette smoking is to the body, but many still struggle to quit. Since 1997 rates of cigarette smoking have gone down by a few percentage points, yet the CDC survey found that…
– One in five adults were smokers, but more than half (58.5%) had never smoked at all.
– Four in 10 smokers had tried to quit smoking in the last year.
– Adults with more education tended not to smoke.
– Respondents with a GED (General Education Development) were more likely than non-high school graduates and high school graduates to be smokers.
The amount of exercise Americans are getting has remained stable over the years, and the most recent survey results show that…
– About six in 10 adults took part in at least some leisure-time physical activity, while about three in 10 regularly did something physical.
– Adults with higher levels of education were more likely to be physically active.
– Men were more likely than women to be physically active.
When it comes to body weight, everyone knows that obesity rates have been rising steadily over the years. Carrying more weight than you should has serious consequences for the body. Here’s what the survey found about body weight status…
– Six in 10 adults could be considered obese or overweight.
– Adults who were more educated were less likely to be obese.
– Four in 10 adults reported being a healthy weight.
– Men were more likely to be overweight (67.9% vs. 53%); but men and women were equally likely to be obese (25.7% vs. 25.0%).
Experts are quickly coming to recognize that getting enough quality sleep is super important to your overall health and well being. When it comes to sleep, the study found that…
– Six in 10 adults typically got 7 to 8 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.
– Three in 10 adults averaged 6 hours of sleep, or less, each night.
– Those with higher levels of education were likely to sleep six hours (or less) a night.
– Men in the 25-44 age group were more likely than women to sleep 6 hours or less; but women over 65 (or older) were more likely to sleep less than 6 hours.
So… you see where we are. The survey is helpful in getting a picture of the health behaviors of Americans. It seems there are still a good many of us engaging in unhealthy habits, despite the best efforts of government and medical professionals trying to get the word out about the benefits to body and mind of following tips for health.