NEW YORK Nearly half of parents admit their family is not eating a balanced diet, and more than 3-in-4 concede that some family members do not practice good health habits, according to a new national survey released earlier this week by YMCA of the USA and Eli Lilly and Company.
And yet, most American parents expect their children's generation to have a longer lifespan than their own, or to live just as long, the survey found. Such optimism has been rejected by research that has concluded that the current generation under the age of 18 may be the first in 200 years to have a shorter lifespan than their parents. The main culprit is obesity, caused by lack of physical activity and poor nutrition.
YMCA of the USA and Lilly are partnering to create a program called Healthy Family Home (www.HealthyFamilyHome.org) to help the entire family work together at home to make healthier choices and live healthier lives. Successful pilot programs have been completed at five YMCAs, and the program launches nationwide during YMCA Healthy Kids Day at more than 1,700 YMCAs next month.
According to the online survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of YMCA of the USA and Lilly, parents spend more time worrying about their children's health than their own (48 percent versus 33 percent), yet most believe their children's generation will live longer than their own (57 percent said longer; 32 percent said about the same; 11 percent said shorter).
The survey also showed that most parents know what behaviors are elements of a healthier lifestyle, yet many just cannot seem to put that knowledge into practice. For example, 91 percent of parents know their family should eat a balanced diet, yet only 56 percent said their household does, and 93 percent know their family should exercise regularly, yet only 45 percent said their household does. While 59 percent of parents said that everyone in the family knows what they should be doing to lead a healthy lifestyle, only 23 percent said everyone in the family practices good health habits.
The top five barriers to putting what is preached into practice include lack of time (48 percent), lack of motivation (46 percent), lack of willpower (45 percent), lack of money (36 percent) and lack of participation from some members of the family (29 percent).
The Family Health Issues survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of YMCA of the USA and Lilly between Feb. 6 and 8, 2008, among 2,015 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, of whom 461 were parents or legal guardians of children under 18 who are living in their household.