Many Americans are cutting back on basic necessities thanks to current economic conditions. Healthy nutrition and medical practices are declining; stress and anxiety are on the rise. Overall, the economy is affecting our quality of life mentally, physically and financially.
Over the last year, more Americans are giving up on healthy lifestyles. There is a 2% decrease in Americans who say they eat healthy every day, a 1.9% decrease in those who eat a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables 4 days a week, and a .7% decrease in those who exercise for at least 30 minutes 3 days a week. However, according to a recent Forbes report, smoking is on the decline because of the cost.
Unhealthy Habits by the Number
Women decreased their fruit and vegetable intake by 2.2% while men saw a smaller decline of 1.6%. People ages 18-29 represent the greatest low, with 2.6% fewer eating fruits and vegetables regularly. The ethnic group with the largest decline is Hispanic. They saw a 2.9% decrease in fruit and vegetable consumption over one year.
Decreased pay and job availability have affected workers on an emotional level. Over 3/4 of workers–77%–say they constantly feel “burned out” at work, and 43% report their on-the-job stress level has increased in the last half year. This also costs the economy an estimated $300 billion a year in no-shows, accidents, insurance and medical claims.
Economy Affecting Patients
Medical patients also believe that the economy has affected their health. 35% of people with heart disease, 21% of cancer patients and 39% of diabetics have reported the state of the economy to be impactful on their wellbeing. 19% of diabetics have skipped or put off medical appointments for financial reasons, while 15% have postponed tests. 18% have said they can’t follow the prescribed diets for their condition, either.
Credit cards can be a useful way to manage money. However, credit cards can be dangerous when used to pay costs people can’t afford, especially if they are used to pay medical bills. Almost ¼ of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes patients have incurred credit card debt in order to pay for their care!
Psychological Effects of the Poor Economy
Almost 33% of Americans say the economy has affected their sleep. These economic woes account for nearly 30% of calls made to suicide hotlines. This is not surprising considering one of the main psychological impacts of job loss and pay cuts is depression. 71% of recently unemployed people, and 51% of workers who had their pay reduced experience depression. One in six Americans can’t afford the food they need–there are 49 million Americans without enough food, and 16 million of those are children.
Economy Effects Everything
Clearly, the economy affects not just our wallets, but every aspect of our lives. It’s important to monitor how financial matters affect friends and family, and ensure everyone gets through these tough economic times safely.