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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Sunnybrook

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U.S. Adults Perform Poorly on Four Key Health Characteristics

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health characteristics

New research shows less than three percent of Americans reached four characteristics that are necessary for a healthy lifestyle. The four benchmarks included 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous exercise a week, a healthy diet, a recommended body fat percentage and not smoking. The non-smoking characteristic was met the most, while body fat percentages and diet suffered. Researchers from several United States universities used data from about 5,000 people who participated in a previous national study. Most of the data was collected through measurement tools, instead of self-reported information.
Some of the results:

  • 16 percent of the test population had three of the four healthy lifestyle characteristics.
  • 37 percent had two of the four healthy lifestyle characteristics.
  • 34 percent had one of the healthy lifestyle characteristics.
  • Only 11 percent had none of the healthy lifestyle characteristics.
  • A total of 72 percent of people didn’t smoke.
  • 38 percent of people had a healthy diet, which fell in line with federal recommendations.
  • 44 percent of women ate healthy diets compared to 32 percent of men.
  • 10 percent of adults had a normal body fat percentage of less than 20 percent for men, and less than 30 percent for women.
  • 47 percent performed sufficient physical activity.
  • 59 percent of men hit the exercise benchmark, compared to 34 percent of women.

The research says reaching these four healthy lifestyle characteristics is associated with lower risk of chronic disease. The study says more investigation is needed to identify ways to encourage more adults to embrace these healthy lifestyles. This study was published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.