With the current state of the economy, Americans are cutting back on basic necessities. Healthy nutrition and medical practices are declining; stress and anxiety are on the rise. See how the economy is really affecting our quality of life with this somber look at our mental, physical and financial health:
In the last year, there’s been a .6% increase in Americans who smoke. This is accompanied by a 2% decrease in Americans who say they eat healthfully all day, a 1.9% decrease in those who eat at least 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.
Women have decreased their fruit and vegetable intake by 2.2%–men only 1.6%. People ages 18-29 have fallen off the most, with 2.6% fewer eating fruits and vegetables regularly. Hispanics are overwhelmingly the racial group with the highest rate of decline in eating fruits and veggies. They saw a 2.9% decrease in consumption in just one year.
The decrease in pay and job availability has affected workers on an emotional level. Over ¾ 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 $300 billion a year in no-shows, accidents, insurance and medical claims.
Medical patients feel 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, but are dangerous when applied to costs people can’t really afford: almost ¼ of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes patients have incurred credit card debt in order to pay for their care.
Almost 33% of Americans say the economy has affected their sleep, and economic woes account for about 30% of calls made to suicide hotlines. The strongest mental impact of job loss and pay cuts is depression, which 71% of laid off/fired people and 51% of recipients of a pay cut experienced. 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.
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.