According to a recent 3,222-person survey conducted in Virginia by DrugGenius.com, a provider of evidence-based information about prescription medications, the average Virginian would rather give up three years of his life than quit eating fast food.
Sixty percent of those surveyed said they would rather give up alcohol than fast food.
One in five of those surveyed indicated they believe a burrito has the greatest health benefits.
Those who responded to the survey also said the last time they did any aerobic exercises was three months ago.
These responses were provided despite studies having proven that overconsumption of ultraprocessed food such as fast food and skimping on exercise have adverse health complications leading to lower life expectancies. In fact, a recent study revealed that eating junk food contributes to cognitive decline.
Fifty-one percent of Virginians responding to the DrugGenius.com survey admitted they flat-out ignore the frequent studies that warn of the health risks of eating too much fast food. In response to the survey’s hypothetical question as to how many years of their lives Virginians would be willing to forgo if it meant they could continue to eat unhealthily, the final results revealed that the average Virginian would give up three years of his life to continue eating fast food.
In fact, 51% also admitted that they flat-out ignore frequent studies that warn of the health risks of eating too much fast-food.
When these figures were analyzed in each state, the places in which people were willing to forgo the greatest number of years to keep eating unhealthy food were Hawaii, Montana, and North Dakota. People in these states would give up a whopping 12 years of their life to maintain their unhealthy diet. Comparatively, these figures were lowest in Alaska, Colorado, Maine, and Mississippi, where the average person would forgo ‘just’ 2 years of his/her life to keep making these unhealthy dietary choices.
Another study by the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development found that American communities with a higher volume of fast-food restaurants have a shorter life expectancy, and research from The University of Michigan discovered that eating a hotdog costs an individual 36 minutes of his life, and a chicken wing can claim three minutes and 30 seconds.
The good news, however, is that it’s also possible to add years onto a life span by making more nutritious dietary choices and implementing healthier lifestyle habits. Snacking on a handful of nuts and seeds can prolong a life by 26 minutes, and a serving of salmon can add 16 minutes, according to these studies.
The hard truth, however, is that when it comes to choosing between a hotdog and a handful of nuts, many Americans still opt for the hotdog, even knowing it could take years off their lives.
A rather alarming discovery of DrugGenius.com’s survey is that 27 percent of those surveyed believe – wrongly, of course – that moderate consumption of fast food has health benefits. And when asked what kind of fast food they believe has the greatest health benefits, 20% of those surveyed thought it was tacos or burritos (perhaps it’s the shredded lettuce garnish?); 8% believed it to be burgers and fries (potatoes are a vegetable, right?); 11% thought it was cheesy, processed meat-topped pizza, and 8% thought a bucket of fried chicken wings had the most health benefits. Overwhelmingly, 45% of those surveyed thought a foot-long sandwich had the most health benefits, maybe because some are loaded with healthful, fresh vegetables and served on whole wheat bread.
One in three respondents also said they were more likely to take health supplements as opposed to doing physical exercise to stay healthy. This perhaps correlates with another of DrugGenius.com’s survey findings, that the average person has not taken part in any aerobic exercise for at least three months.
Responding to the survey, DrugGenius.com’s Stacie Detmer said, “It may seem like an impossible task to change up your lifestyle and dietary habits; however, once you begin making healthier substitutions and choices in one or two areas, it can also help you learn more about the nutritional information and components of different food sources. Although it’s less-than-likely that you’ll be able to completely change your habits overnight, learning more about this kind of information can help you make healthier choices overall, potentially adding years onto your life if managed effectively.”