Despite America being a nation of clean eating, crash diets, and beach bodies, a new study has found that only 2.7% of adults across the country are actually considered “healthy,” according to the four main pillars of heart health.
Completed by researchers at Oregon State University in conjunction with other universities, the report examined whether adult adults achieved the four areas that fit the typical requirements for a healthy lifestyle, being exercise, a healthy diet, abstaining from smoking and a prescribed body fat percentage. Individuals who live their lives according to those four tenets typically have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and various health problems.
The researchers looked at 4,475 participants from the National Health and Nutrition Survey. The researchers used blood samples to confirm whether or not a person was a smoker, used an accelerometer to gauge whether or not a person performed 150 moderate to vigorous minutes of exercise each week, measured body fat with x-ray technology, and measured diet via the standards of food consumption by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Typically, a healthy diet consists of 1.5 to 2 servings of fruit a day and 2 to 2.5 servings of vegetables per day.
Out of the thousands of participants surveyed, only 2.7% of them exhibited all four characteristics. Researchers also reported that 16% had three, 37% had two, 34% had one and 11% had zero of the traits.
“The behavior standards we were measuring for were pretty reasonable,” Ellen Smit, study senior author and an associate professor in the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences, said in a statement. “We weren’t looking for marathon runners. This is pretty low, to have so few people maintaining what we would consider a healthy lifestyle. This is sort of mind boggling.”
Mind boggling, indeed. For a nation so obsessed with health, why is only 2.7% of the sampled population up to snuff?