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Americans Skimp on Healthy Activities in Bad Economy
Date:5/17/2009

Survey says corporate wellness programs, walking offer ways to keep health on track

DALLAS, May 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Yet another negative result of the bad economy: Americans are cutting back on healthy activities such as eating fresh foods and exercising regularly.

In a national omnibus survey of 1,000 people conducted in March 2009 by the American Heart Association:

  • 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.

Results of the study spell trouble for Americans' overall well-being and heart health in particular, said Timothy Gardner, M.D., President of the American Heart Association.

"We've made dramatic gains in recent years in our fight against heart disease and stroke, but trends like these threaten to reverse these gains. We need to remind people that even in hard times their health is important. Physical activity, in particular, is an easy, inexpensive way for people to prevent heart disease and manage their stress -- another byproduct of a tough economy."

The American Heart Association 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.

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SOURCE American Heart Association
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