Bad Health Habits Don’t Change, Even After a Health Crisis

We are creatures of habit, especially bad habits. New research shows even a crisis like a heart attack or a stroke is not enough to get many of us to shape up.

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta via Health Matters

We all think we could break a bad habit if we had to. That smokers’ excuse “I can quit anytime,” holds for all our bad habits: “I can start exercising any time” and “I’ll eat better tomorrow.”

But a study out of Canada has some sobering news: Even a brush with death is often not enough to get us to make better choices.

Researchers studied more than 150,000 people from all around the world, rich and poor, urban and rural. Participants answered questions about exercise, diet, and smoking.

Because the group was so large, there were almost 8,000 participants who had survived either a heart attack or a stroke. Thehealth habits of this group were startling.

Only 39 percent reported improving their diet, and just 35 percent increased their physical activity. Of those who were smokers, only 52 percent quit.

Just 4 percent of those 8,000 people improved their habits in all three areas: smoking, diet, and exercise.

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