Study: Only 3 Percent of Americans Live Healthy Lifestyle

Experts say a healthy lifestyle is dependent at least in part on four basics that help a person prevent and control chronic diseases: not smoking, eating A good diet, getting physical activity and controlling weight.

By these measures, only 3 percent of Americans are living the healthy life, according to a new study.

The research examined data from surveys on 153,000 adults in all 50 states. Specifically they looked at whether the subjects were eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day and getting regular physical activity.

While many of the people did well in one or more category, only three percent met the basic requirements of all four. The details:

  • 76 percent didn't smoke
  • 40 percent maintained a healthy weight (these tended to be younger and better educated)
  • 23 percent ate five or more fruits and vegetables a day
  • 22 percent got at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five times a week
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The study, announced Monday, was done by Mathew Reeves of Michigan State University and Ann P. Rafferty of the Michigan Department of Community Health.

"These data, along with those that illustrate the benefit of following a healthy lifestyle, support the need for comprehensive primary prevention activities to increase healthy lifestyles and to reduce the prevalence of chronic risk factors," the scientists write in the April 25 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

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