Americans eating healthier, exercising more

So far, so good: Seems like Americans are sticking to their New Year’s resolutions.

The percentage of Americans who said they ate at least five servings of fruits and vegetables at least four days in the last week was 57.4 percent, an increase of 3.3 percentage points since December, according to the February Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

This improvement—along with an increase in the percentage of Americans who exercised frequently— helped push up the nation’s Healthy Behavior Index score, which climbed to 63.9 in February, up 2.9 points since December.

Still, Gallup researchers note, Americans’ eating and exercise behaviors follow a typical seasonal trend, with these habits worsening in fall and winter and improving in the spring and summer.

The Physical Health Index, which measures the country’s physical health, declined slightly to 76.5 in February, from 77.1 in January. A decline in the percentage of Americans reporting that they felt well-rested in February and increase in the percentage who had a cold or the flu caused the overall index to inch down.

The good news, though, is obesity dropped to 25.6 percent, tied for the lowest monthly level Gallup and Healthways have found since October 2008.

Additionally, the report found, the Emotional Health Index, a composite measure of Americans’ daily emotional experiences, dipped to 79.2, ending its five-month improvement streak.

The percentage of Americans who didn’t “worry a lot of the day yesterday” declined 1.4 points to 67.8 percent and those without “stress a lot of the day yesterday” fell 2.5 points to 58.6 percent. The Work Environment Index, which evaluates American workers’ perceptions of their workplaces, remained low and flat at 47.6. But 80 percent of workers did report that their “supervisor always creates an environment that is trusting and open,” up from the recent past.


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