That means you eat a healthy diet, you exercise most days of the week, you don't smoke and you have a low percentage of body fat. The sad reality is that the vast majority of us -- that's a whopping 97.3 percent -- don't lead a healthy lifestyle, according to research from Oregon State University, the University of Mississippi and the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. The study: Led by Ellen Smit of the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences, the team examined data on more than 4,700 people who were part of the ongoing U.S. National Health and Nutrition Survey. The OSU researchers assessed how many of the participants followed the four general principles of healthy living: a good diet, moderate exercise, don't smoke and keep body fat under control. These standards are considered reasonable in that they don't just apply to super athletes or marathon runners. They are typical of the advice given by physicians to their patients to help lower the risk for type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. The results:
  • 2.7 percent had all four of the healthy lifestyle behaviors.
  • 16 percent had three of the healthy lifestyle behaviors.
  • 37 percent had two of the healthy lifestyle behaviors.
  • 11 percent had none of the healthy lifestyle behaviors.

In terms of the four healthy lifestyle behaviors, the researchers found:
  • 71 percent did not smoke.
  • 46 percent exercised regularly.
  • 38 percent ate a healthy diet.
  • 10 percent had a normal body fat percentage.


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