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Myth: You are very healthy

We don’t eat this well every meal!

TRUTH:  How can I even make such a claim?!  Though this isn’t an attempt to insult your intelligence, it’s very likely that you overestimate how healthy you are.  We’ve all heard the statistic that about two thirds of Americans are overweight, right?  On top of that, consider the less common (but nonetheless rampant) thin but unhealthy people.   So, it’s safe to say that most Americans are unhealthy.

However, in a recent study, 8 out of 10 people described themselves as “extremely” or “very” healthy.  Some other findings include that fewer people are on diets and most Americans (59%) don’t care how much sodium they’re consuming!

There are plenty of other studies that show that Americans think they weigh less than they actually do and that Americans perceive other people to be less healthy than they are (P.S. your doctor probably disagrees).

Despite these negative results, 44% of people said they had made changes in the past 6 months to improve the healthfulness of their diets.

BOTTOM LINE: ‘Healthy’ seems to be a relative term.  Someone who has made improvements in their dietary habits might consider themselves healthy now, but that could mean eating fast food only 2x per week instead of daily and having a sodium intake only 2x what it should be.

Rather than living in denial, it’s time to admit that we’re not perfect.  I think we should applaud any dietary improvements and continue to strive for better health because, chances are, you’re not extremely healthy.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

  1. Food Navigator USA: Why do 80% of US adults think they are healthy when all evidence points to the contrary?
  2. US News and World Report:  Most Americans think its others who are unhealthy

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2 Comments to "Myth: You are very healthy"

  1. Heather says:

    What would you say are some good ways to assess your healthfulness?

    • Kate Gardner says:

      Hi Heather,

      That’s a great question! In my opinion, I think overall health has to include an assessment of the Big 4: eating, exercise, sleep and stress. Try to honestly assess each of those on a daily basis and if it’s too difficult, keep a journal for a week, rating the quality of each. At the end of that week, try to identify which area could use the most improvement and go from there! If you have questions or would like more specific guidance, feel free to e-mail me! I’d also like to throw this out to other readers: what do you do to assess your healthfulness?!

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