Most Americans say physical and mental health more important than job security

·3-min read

Three quarters of Americans said the last 18 months made them realize they need to prioritize their health more than they have in the past, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 Americans revealed the past year and a half has given them a chance to become healthier and focus on what matters most.

Seventy-four percent of respondents said their physical health is just as important as their mental and emotional health: becoming healthier is not just tackling one area for most respondents.

While 82 percent believe a healthy diet is integral to their overall wellness, diet isn't respondents' only area of focus. The vast majority (88%) have developed a variety of healthy habits during the past 18 months.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of MegaFood, the survey looked at what matters when it comes to our health and wellness and how our approach to physical, emotional and mental health may have shifted in the last year and a half.

The survey found that millennials (84%) and boomers (66%) can find common ground as they both agree they take a holistic approach to their health, meaning they care for their person as a whole — providing for physical, mental, spiritual and social needs.

And men surveyed were slightly more likely to take a holistic approach to their health, compared to women (83% vs. 75%).

Further supporting the holistic approach, when asked to rate various aspects of their lifestyle, to see which mattered the most, emotional/mental health came in first (7.2 out of 10) and physical health followed in a close second  (7.1).

Ranking the lowest among the provided choices was job security (5.5).

"It's no surprise that in 2021, our health and well-being are our top priorities when ranked against other lifestyle aspects," said Erin Stokes, Naturopathic Doctor and Medical Director at MegaFood. "And more than half of respondents (53%) noted that the #1 way they take care of their physical health is by eating a healthy diet."

While most respondents are prioritizing their health and wellness in 2021, not everyone is going about it the same way.

Forty-five percent of millennials are most likely to talk to a therapist to care for their mental health, whereas only 8 percent of baby boomers use therapy as a mental health tool.

Conversely, baby boomers are most likely to incorporate vitamins and supplements into their diet (76%), compared to Gen X and millennials (65% and 68%, respectively). 

While respondents focused on their own health these last 18 months, they also noted other forms of self-care. 

Top of the list was making healthy foods (39%), followed by reading a book (39%) and spending time in nature (36%). Respondents have also made time to connect with loved ones (35%).

But it's not just our personal health that matters, survey respondents were also asked about the health of our planet and how much that matters. 

Seventy-eight percent of respondents agree that it is important we address the health of our soil to ensure we have more nutrients in our food. 

And furthermore, three-fourths of respondents care about climate-friendly farming practices. 

"For the future health of our planet, it's important for people to support farming systems that protect and nourish the soil," stated Erin Stokes, Naturopathic Doctor and Medical Director at MegaFood. "One way that people can take positive action is to look for brands who are committed to regenerative agriculture and replenishing soil health."

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