Survey reveals how the pandemic has impacted health of Americans

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According to a survey from Cleveland Clinic and Parade magazine, nearly half of Americans said they’ve experienced changes in physical and mental health during the pandemic.

“While the majority of Americans are doing well in terms of their health, there’s still room for improvement and some of the things we should focus on are mental health, sleep, diet, physical activity -- the cornerstones of preventive health,” said Dr. Neha Vyas, a primary care physician with Cleveland Clinic.

While 81% rated their overall health as good or excellent, results suggest the pandemic has taken a mental toll on many.

“There are certain groups that we need to pay particular attention to because they are really struggling and those are women, our young adults under 35, our families whose total annual income is less than 50K dollars and those who are unmarried,” said Vyas.

More than one quarter of respondents said they have a negative view of their day. Many turn to social media to stay connected, but 30% said it makes them feel depressed. And almost 40% said they often go a full day without speaking to another person.

“Now that many of us have been vaccinated and many of the states have opened up again, it’s important to remember to communicate with people and to interact with them in real time,” Vyas said. “We need those interactions.”

When it comes to physical activity, more than two-thirds of respondents walk at least 30 minutes daily. But nearly 70% said they sit more than six hours a day.

“The good news is that they recognize that and they were taking steps to take breaks frequently,” said Vyas. “And some people have invested in standing desks or standing platforms so they’re doing their work online but they’re able to stand up.”

A high percentage of Americans reported trying to eat more vegetables but less than half say they eat at least one green veggie every day.

“At a minimum Americans should be getting about three servings a week of vegetables and leafy greens in their diet, but certainly the more, the better,” Dr. Vyas said.

The survey shows Americans are also struggling with sleep.

Nearly 50% said they’re not getting enough shut-eye, with a large number admitting to sleep-sabotaging behaviors, like sleeping with their cell phone, or watching television in bed.

Additional survey results can be found on Parade’s website.