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New Survey Highlights Pandemic’s Effects on Health Goals, Behaviors

The Monday Campaigns conducted an online omnibus survey with Researchscape International to better understand whether and how people were able to maintain their healthful behaviors and health goals during the pandemic. The findings suggest that people have been less consistent with healthful behaviors during the pandemic, but those who reported positive feelings about Monday as a fresh start were more likely to report that they were in better health.

The following are five key takeaways from the findings.

1. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people’s sense of schedule has eroded to the following extent:

  • 46% of all respondents say it’s extremely or very true of them that they sometimes lose track of what day of the week it is.
  • 41% report that they miss having weekly plans to look forward to.
  • 38% say that lack of a structured weekly schedule makes it harder to accomplish their goals.

2. People are generally feeling less healthy since the onset of the pandemic, with those rating their health good or excellent dropping from 64% to 57%. Survey participants also reported the following declines in physical activity: 

  • 28% are exercising less often, compared with 16% exercising more often​.
  • 17% are doing strength training less often, compared with 9% doing it more often.​
  • 15% are doing indoor exercise less often, compared with 10% doing it more often.

3. There were multiple reasons people gave for not meeting their health goals during the pandemic, including the following: 

  • sitting around more than usual (44%);
  • eating or snacking more frequently (41%); 
  • don’t feel motivated (41%); and
  • lost a regular routine (34%).

4. More than 4 out of 5 Americans couldn’t hold back from sweet and salty foods. 86% of respondents listed at least one item of the following junk food that was hard to resist:

  • chips (42%);
  • ice cream (40%);
  • cookies (37%);
  • sugary drinks​ (30%);
  • bread and carbs​ (29%); and
  • cheesy food (28%).

However, compared with the beginning of the pandemic, 34% of respondents reported eating more fruits and vegetables.

5. Those with a positive feeling about Monday reported being in better health during the pandemic in the following ways:

  • Those who see Mondays as a fresh start rate their health highest; 71% rate it as excellent or good. This was significantly higher than the other feelings about Monday.
  • The same percentage (71%) of those who don’t lose track of the day of the week also reported that their health was good or excellent. 

Health Resolutions for the New Year
Despite difficulties maintaining resolutions in 2020, this new year, more will set the following resolutions for better health:

  • to eat more healthfully, up from 29% as a 2020 resolution to 39% planning this as a 2021 resolution​;
  • to maintain a healthy weight, up from 26% to 37%​;
  • to get more exercise, up from 30% to 36%; and
  • no New Year’s resolution down from 36% to 31%.

For free downloadable resources, visit mondaycampaigns.org/resources.

— Source: The Monday Campaigns