ARE AMERICANS BECOMING MORE HEALTH CONSCIOUS?

Frightening headlines about obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other lifestyle-related illnesses are increasing. While many people may look at headlines and despair, there is a great deal of reason for hope. Evidence shows that many Americans are becoming more health conscious and adopting habits that will help them stay vibrant and active throughout their lives. A few of the top healthy trends:

Fewer smokers every year.

Since 1965, when health officials began tracking figures, more than 40% of all American adults who smoked have quit. Around 1.3 million cut out the habit every year. And, research shows that between twenty and forty percent of those who have access to quality smoking cessation programs manage to quit for at least one year. If you are thinking about quitting yourself, follow these steps to get yourself ready: Take time to prepare yourself mentally, get support from the people around you, learn new skills to help you cope, and prepare yourself for difficult situations and setbacks.

People want to eat their vegetables.

While nine out of ten Americans eat fewer vegetables than they should, two important cohorts are working to bridge the gap. Millennials and members of Gen Z increased their consumption of fresh and frozen vegetables by 52 and 59% over the past decade.

Researchers say that eating an adequate amount of vegetables is key to avoiding chronic health issues including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Under the USDA guidelines, individuals should aim to eat between 5 and 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day; depending on your individual age, gender, level of physical activity and general state of health.

A nation of label readers.

It is well-known that highly processed foods are more likely to be unhealthy than their less processed counterparts. Many Americans have become more likely to read the ingredient and nutrition labels on the foods that they buy to avoid unhealthful ingredients. Younger consumers are the most likely to be concerned about the ingredients in the foods that they eat. Forty percent of people in Gen Z, for instance, say that they are willing to pay more for healthier versions of the products that they buy.

People in the US still have a great deal of progress to make when it comes to our health. Many of us fall prey to preventable illnesses that could be avoided through healthier lifestyles. However, the incremental changes we have seen in healthy habits could continue to gain ground over time. With progress, we’ll see a population that stays active and healthy longer and enjoys a higher quality of life with less medical intervention in their later years.