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CLEVELAND – We’re all navigating the challenges of COVID-19 in different ways.
According to a recent survey from Parade Magazine and Cleveland Clinic, the pandemic has motivated some people to get healthy.
“What’s striking is that COVID has brought to attention the underlying risks of being overweight or having a chronic disease and getting very sick,” said Mark Hyman, MD, of Cleveland Clinic. “So, people are paying more attention to their health and they’re spending more time outdoors, they’re sleeping better, they’re eating better, they’re exercising more.”
More than half of people surveyed adopted a healthy lifestyle change since the start of the pandemic; with over 30 percent eating healthier foods.
And nearly 80 percent said quarantine made them value their relationships.
“Everybody was living a life that didn’t quite feel great – too busy, running around, hectic, chaotic. And when everybody’s at home connecting to their family, being in the kitchen, having more time with loved ones, having more time of stillness, I’ve noticed this, that the quality of life goes up and people are appreciating that,” Dr. Hyman said.
But some people are struggling. 55 percent of adults reported mental health concerns.
“In the group of younger adults, from 18 to 34, three-quarters experienced mental health issues – stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, isolation,” said Dr. Hyman. “And these are really the result of the complete change in our society. The lack of being able to congregate, connect with others and the stresses of the economic burden that this has placed on so many families.”
Results also show 38 percent of those surveyed skipped preventive health visits and 15 percent avoided the hospital for things like injuries or chest pain – due to coronavirus fears.
“We’re seeing a lot of complications and health consequences from people being afraid to go to the doctor’s office, being afraid to go to the emergency room or hospital so they’re delaying care, and that’s not a good thing,” said Dr. Hyman. “Hospitals are very rigorous about their safety protocols, precautions, and it probably is safer than most other places to go. I do think that people need to pay attention to their symptoms, they need to go get help when they don’t feel well. They need to focus on their preventive care.”
Despite the stress of COVID-19, the survey also shows 72 percent of respondents have a positive outlook for the future.