Survey provides clear of picture of how Americans are embracing healthy living

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Who are Americans more likely to take health advice from…their doctors or an Instagram influencer? Would U.S. adults rather talk or text? Socialize in real life or scroll through social media? Parade magazine and Cleveland Clinic joined forces for the second year in a row to poll Americans on their adoption of health, lifestyle, fitness and diet trends and takes a look at how social media has helped move health practices that once seemed extreme into the mainstream.

Key findings from the Parade/Cleveland Clinic Healthy Now survey include:

Social media influencers are making a big impact on health, fitness and lifestyle behaviors

  • 44% have taken personal health or fitness action based on info/advice obtained via social media.
  • Top 3 actions: tried a natural remedy (20%), changed/adapted fitness routine (18%), tried a new diet or changed diet (18%).
  • 69% agree that social media/YouTube is a good source for information about new beauty products

Social media vs. Socializing IRL

  • 33% of all Americans say they spend more time on social media than they do socializing in person on a weekly basis. Women are slightly more likely to say this than men (35% vs. 30%).
      • 50% of adults age 18-34 spend more time on social media than connecting in person.
      • One-in-four women age 25-49 spends more than five hours each day on their cellphone and/or tablet

Screen time, any time, all the time! Americans place few limits on digital device usage

  • Overall, 58% of adults do not track or manage screen time at all
  • Adults with children in the household are twice as likely to use a tracking or screen time management system. The majority say they "just know when I've had enough" as opposed to actually employing a specific mechanism to track their screen time.
  • Only 29% of total adults say they block text notifications while driving.
  • More than half of total adults (51%) say they would rather text than talk on the phone.

Health care, no waiting – Americans' growing adoption of remote/virtual access to traditional medical services  

  • 22% percent of total respondents say they would be likely to consult a doctor via a video appointment on their smart phone/tablet for diagnostic reasons.
  • At-home medical testing moves into the mainstream: Cholesterol testing, colon cancer testing and allergy testing were the most popular at-home tests, with 39%, 38% and 36% of respondents having either tried or would consider trying.
  • Mail order services allow Americans to get health-related items delivered to their doors: 39% purchase prescription glasses/contacts; 27% purchase meal kits or prepared meals; 25% purchase personalized vitamin regimens.

Fitness …. Fads or forever?

  • Most intriguing fitness trends that respondents want to try: Trampoline classes (32%), Crossfit (31%), Peloton (29%), Soul Cycle/Intensati (27%), Hip hop/Bollywood dancing (27%).
  • Most effective fitness class you've never heard of: HIIT (high-intensity interval training). While respondents who have tried it rank it #1 in effectiveness (after Crossfit), 46% of respondents have never heard of it.

"Dieting" for health

  • Is the "anti-dieting" movement taking hold? Only 37% of the total (42% of women) said they have recently followed or currently follow a diet or control their eating.
  • Top diets include: Intermittent fasting (36%), Plant-based (26%), Keto (24%)
  • Sugar gets the boot: Cutting sugar is the top dietary priority (73%), and 52% say sugar is as bad for your health as smoking; cutting carbs (55%) is second and consuming fewer processed foods (52%) is third.

Inner life in the spotlight

  • 45% of adults have used a technique to improve their mental/emotional health.
  • Most popular techniques: Self-help books (16%), traditional in-office therapy (14%), meditation apps (13%)

These results give us a solid picture of how Americans are embracing healthy living today, and clues to what wellness and healthcare might look like tomorrow. The move away from direct personal access to health care professionals is a major shift. The convenience and lower costs of such solutions as at-home testing and virtual consultations is a plus, but it's important to maintain quality as these tools continue to grow in popularity."

Lisa Delaney, Parade's SVP/Chief Content Officer

While some trending health habits offer good outcomes, others are dangerous, says Mark Hyman, M.D., director of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine. "There can be a lot of false health claims out there, so it's important to ask where that information or advice is coming from," Dr. Hyman says. "Is it from a health professional? On the other hand, information coming from social media can be very inspiring. We do much better when we have a social support for what we're doing, and social media can be very motivating."

Read about popular fitness and diet trends and more Parade/Cleveland Clinic Healthy Now survey results at


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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