In what it calls a National Health Check-Up®, the prestigious Mayo Clinic has uncovered some interesting findings on Americans and their attitudes toward health. The survey was conducted recently by interviewing more than 1,000 adults.

Some of the key findings:

  • The top three ways participants plan to improve their health in 2016 were to improve their diet (74 percent), get more exercise (73 percent), and see their doctor for a yearly check-up (66 percent).
  • Women surveyed were more likely than men to say they plan to take action to improve their health.
  • Most people surveyed believe they will age better than their parents. However, people currently in their 30s were least optimistic on this front. Only 56 percent of them think they’re likely to age better than their parents. Compare that to 92 percent of people in their 80s.

The study highlighted an important gender difference when it comes to pursuing good health. Women were much more likely than men to say they planned to eat healthier, get more sleep, or get a scheduled medical check-up or screening test.

“While we know that women tend to be more proactive about their health, it’s concerning that so many fewer men say that they plan to schedule a milestone screening, such as a colonoscopy, in 2016,” says John T. Wald, MD, medical director for public affairs at Mayo Clinic. “Men need to prioritize screenings as well, because early detection of disease can help improve chances of survival. If they are of average risk, men should begin getting screened for colorectal and prostate cancer at age 50, and sooner if they are of above-average risk.”

However, the survey also revealed that women were more likely than men to say they had gained weight over the past five years. Women also complained more about difficulty sleeping.

The survey also explored technological trends in medicine and found that while people are willing to engage in telemedicine and emailing their doctor, they still want to see the doctor. Most people (61 percent) said they wouldn’t choose telemedicine over seeing the doctor. Notably, 31 percent of people from the Midwest said “nothing would influence them to choose telemedicine over seeing a doctor in-person.” However, respondents in their 30s were most likely to feel comfortable with telemedicine.

Despite the high cost of health care and national debate about the best way to pay for care, the survey participants were optimistic about medical care in general. When asked how optimistic they were about potential cures emerging in the next 10 years for various chronic conditions, 46 percent said they were optimistic about a cure for diabetes, and 35 percent were optimistic about a cure for cancer.

Finding Time for Fitness

How do you find time for exercise? That’s a question that each person has to figure out for himself or herself. Here are some tips from the American Heart Association.

  • The best time of day to work out is the time that is best for you. Pick a time that will allow you to be consistent and not miss days. The “best” time is based on time of day, location, type of activity, and social setting.
  • Consider all of those factors to figure out what will work best for you. The benefits of exercise are tightly linked to doing it on a consistent basis.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. What works for someone else may not be right for you.
  • The American Heart Association guidelines recommend people get at least 2 and a half hours per week of moderate exercise or an hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous exercise. Routines can be broken into chunks as short as 10 minutes and spread out throughout the week.
  • More exercise is better, but remember that even modest amounts are better than nothing.



Plumbo, G. (2016, Jan. 20). Work schedule is top barrier to staying healthy, according to first-ever Mayo Clinic National Health Check-Up®. Mayo Clinic News Network.

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Mayo Clinic. State of the nation’s health: It’s time for our check-up.

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American Heart Association. (2015, Oct. 23). When is the best time of day to work out?

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