A potpourri of statistics demonstrating the importance of creating healthy habits.

Our baseline performance indicators for pillars of health like nutrition, fitness, mental health, and sleep have a lot of room for improvement:

  • Nutrition: 35.5% of US adults (20 years and older) are obese (Obesity is a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 30 for adults. Height and weight are measured rather than self-reported.)
  • Fitness: 21.0% of US adults (18 years and older) met both guidelines for physical activity in 2013; 46.5% met neither guideline (Federal guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity a week and muscle- strengthening activities at least twice a week.)
  • Mental Health: For adults aged 18 years and over, 3.4% had serious psychological distress (SPD) in the past 30 days in 2012–2013. In 2012–2013, 7.1% of adults aged 55–64 experienced mild-moderate psychological distress (MMPD) in the past 30 days.
  • Mental Health: 17.0% of students in grades 9–12 seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months in 2013.
  • Sleep: 68.3% of students in grades 9–12 got fewer than 8 hours of sleep on an average school night in 2013.

We want to make positive changes in our lives:

  • Resolutions: 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions.
  • Nutrition: An estimated 108 million Americans on diets each year.

We continually falter in our change attempts:

  • Resolutions: Only 8% are successful in achieving their resolution, while 49% achieve infrequent success, and 24% never succeed. 75% maintain their resolution past the first week, 71% past two weeks, 64% past one month, and 46% past six months.
  • Nutrition: Dieters typically make four to five attempts per year.

The cost of failure to change is high:

  • Four health risk behaviors, unhealthy behaviors we can change, cause much of the damage related to chronic diseases and conditions.
  • Half of US adults have at least one chronic condition; 25% have two or more.
  • 86% of healthcare spending is for patients with chronic conditions.
  • Chronic diseases are by far the leading cause of mortality in the world, representing 60% of all deaths.
References
  1. Ward, Brian W. “Multiple chronic conditions among US adults: a 2012 update.” Preventing chronic disease 11 (2014).
  2. WHO
  3. Gerteis J, Izrael D, Deitz D, LeRoy L, Ricciardi R, Miller T, Basu J. Multiple Chronic Conditions Chartbook. AHRQ Publications No, Q14-0038. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. April 2014.
  4. CDC
  5. National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2014: With Special Feature on Adults Aged 55–64. Hyattsville, MD. 2015.
  6. Statistic Brain
  7. ABC News

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