Lack of exercise, sleep affects health: poll

Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:17pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Americans face major obstacles to living a healthier lifestyle including lack of exercise and sleep and denial about being overweight, according to a new survey.

Forty-two percent of the 15,000 Americans questioned in the poll also said the economy is having a negative impact on their healthy choices.

"One piece of the survey we thought was interesting was people have access to a lot of information, and they know what the right things are to do, but they're struggling with taking that into action," said Beth Dornan, director of marketing services for Amway Global which commissioned the poll.

"The mind is willing, but the struggle is how to put those thoughts into action," she added in an interview.

People who took part in the poll were questioned about stress, nutrition, exercise, weight, community and family wellness.

While 38 percent of the respondents said getting enough exercise is the most challenging part of living a healthy life, only 24 percent believe regular exercise at least three days per week is the most critical aspect of maintaining health.

The poll showed that more than one in five people are not exercising for at least 30 minutes or more at a time on a regular basis, which is recommended by U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

One reason Americans may not be exercising as often, or for as long as recommended, is that many may not be realistic about their need to lose weight.

While the CDC said in its 2003-2004 report that an estimated 66 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese, just 45 percent of those surveyed thought they needed to shed excess weight.

Only four percent of the people questioned perceived themselves as obese, although the CDC put the figure at more than 33 percent of Americans.

<p>A man sleeps at a Greyhound bus station in Mobile, Alabama, May 11, 2007. REUTERS/Carlos Barria</p>