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3 Secrets to Healthier Eating

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By    |   Wednesday, 10 May 2017 12:01 PM

Ever wonder why there's always someone in the group who chooses fat-free over fried foods? Researchers at Gallup-Sharecare did, so they conducted more than 177,000 interviews for their Well-Being Index, and uncovered a few surprising revelations.

1. Social Support

Those who make healthier choices were found to surround themselves with others who made similar choices and had similar outlooks. Friends and family who actively engage in healthier lifestyle choices including food and activity tend to have more positive energy every day and that energy is contagious, researchers found. The closer the relationship, the more beneficial the rub-off.

Spouses and partners topped the list of those supplying this positive lead. About two-thirds of those who agreed with this reported they ate healthier the day before the interview. With those who disagreed, eating healthy dropped to about half.

A full 67 percent of those who agreed or strongly agreed (rating of 4 or 5 on a 1 to 5 scale with 1 meaning strongly disagree and 5 meaning strongly agree) with the statement, "Someone in your life always encourages you to be healthy," reported eating healthy up to the day before the interview.

For the same statement, only 48 percent of those who disagreed or strongly disagreed (2 or 1) reported health eating. The results were similar for the statements, "Your friends and family give you positive energy every day"; and "My relationship with my spouse, partner or closest friend is stronger than ever"; 66 percent to 48 percent, and 65 to 52 percent, respectively.

Gallup researchers were quick to point out that it is unclear from the results whether people who eat healthily are more likely to gravitate toward supportive relationships, or if those in supportive relationships find it easier to eat better. The bottom line: Support and encouragement ranks high when trying to stick to a healthy eating regimen.

2. The Right Career

Those who had a fulfilling career, both in terms of goal-reaching and a stronger sense of worth, were more enthusiastic about healthier eating choices. In fact, among those interviewed, those who agreed with the provided statements —reaching most of their goals in the last 12 months, learning or doing something interesting every day, and having a leader who makes them enthusiastic about the future — were significantly more likely to report eating healthily "yesterday" than those who disagreed with those yardsticks.

When asked if they agreed with the statement, " In the last 12 months, I have reached most of my goals," 69 percent of those who agreed or strongly agreed (rating of 4 or 5) reported healthy choices the day before, and 54 percent of those who disagreed or strongly disagreed (2 or 1) made healthy choices. The results were similar for the statements, "You learn or do something interesting every day"; and "There is a leader in your life who makes you enthusiastic about the future"; 67 to 53 percent and 67 to 55 percent, respectively.

Researchers point out the causation for healthy eating up to the day before the interview could be from having a strong sense of purpose, or that healthy eating habits provide the impetus for achieving goals and making each day interesting. Either way, both are advantageous to good health.

3. Sound Finances

The research also finds that those who have enough money to do everything they want to do are significantly more likely to report healthy food choices up to the day before interviewing than those who said they didn't have adequate finances. When presented with the singular statement, "You have enough money to do everything you want to do," 69 percent who reported eating healthy agreed or strongly agreed (4 or 5) with the statement, compared to 57 percent who reported eating healthy and disagreed or strongly disagreed (2 or 1) with the statement.

It is possible that those with enough money to do what they want have more access to healthier food. But it is also possible that people who manage their money don't have as much financial stress, which could lead to unhealthy eating habits.

Gallup sums up its research by saying if Americans want to focus on new strategies to improve their eating habits, it's hard to beat strong social support, identifying a strong purpose in life and reducing financial stress for lasting changes that affect health and well-being.

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Ever wonder why there's always someone in the group who chooses fat-free over fried foods? Researchers at Gallup-Sharecare did so they conducted more than 177,000 interviews for their Well-Being Index, and uncovered a few surprising revelations.
finances, food, social contact, healthy
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2017-01-10
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 12:01 PM
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