It’s lean times due to the current recession. Yet, instead of all losing all those excess fat, more and more people are actually gaining weight! This video at ABC news presents results of a survey conducted by the American Heart Association (AHA) and it’s not good news at all. The current economic problems are forcing people to skimp on things which are essential to their health.
The results of a national omnibus survey of 1,000 people conducted in March 2009 by the AHA show that:
- 57 percent said the economy has affected their ability to take care of their health.
- 32 percent have made a change in the last six months to save money, such as delaying preventive care appointments, not taking medications or skipping the dentist.
- 25 percent of those with gym memberships have cancelled in the previous six months.
- 42 percent plan to make changes in the next six months that may impact their health, such as buying fewer fruits and vegetables.
The results are a bit worrying considering that the effects of investment (or rather non-investment) in health care and healthy lifestyle can only be seen years from now.
It is understandable that people should cut down on certain things in order to save money. However, it is important to set priorities straight and cut down on things that are non-essential but keep things which are essential for our health going. So what should be the things that we should prioritize?
- Health care, e.g. routine check ups and screening, including dental care. Remember that early detection is the key to disease management and dental health is linked to heart health.
- Healthy food. Now, more than ever, is a healthy diet necessary. There is a flu epidemic going on and many of us cannot afford to be ill. Cut down on eating out and partying but not fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Physical activity. This is actually something you need not cut back because this is something you can do anywhere, everywhere – for free. Save on gym membership fees, golf club or tennis club fees but keep going. Cycle to work. Walk whenever you can. [The AHA] “encourages walking because it’s the most accessible form of physical activity and it has the lowest drop out rate among Americans. The association supports the federal government’s recently revised guidelines for physical activity, which focus more on a cumulative amount of activity over a week, rather than a specific amount each day.”
Here are however some things that you can and should cut down:
- Cigarettes and other tobacco products. Now is the best time to quit. Save money, save your health.
- Alcohol. Alcohol is fattening, calorie-rich, and expensive. Your body won’t miss it.
- Eating out. Maybe it’s time to brush up on your culinary skills and eat more often at home. It need be complicated. A salad doesn’t take much time to prepare and is healthy.
For more tips, check out a previous post on keeping healthy in a sick economy.
As the ABC video rightly said so: “Don’t put your health on hold.”
Photo credit: stock.xchng