Obliviously Unhealthy

It’d be nice to think they’re benefiting from the power of positive thinking. More likely, they’re just in denial. A study commissioned by Oxford Health Plans found nearly one-fifth of American workers claiming to be in excellent health despite being obese, smoking, drinking heavily and/or never exercising. The polling divided employed adults into Truly Healthies (32 percent), the Worried Well (18 percent), Health Illusionists (17 percent) and Health Evaders (32 percent). The Truly Healthies are the cohort most likely to eat five servings of fruits/vegetables per day (47 percent routinely do so) and least likely to gorge on fried foods (5 percent) or salty/sugary snacks (8 percent). Just 9 percent say they never exercise. While having a poorer self-assessment of their health, the Worried Well tend to behave. Forty percent eat five servings of fruits/vegetables; few habitually eat fried foods (11 percent) or salty/sugary snacks (12 percent); 9 percent never exercise. Still, 20 percent of Worried Wells are overweight. Health Evaders are in poor shape, and they admit it. Forty-six percent are overweight (with two-thirds of these at least 25 pounds too heavy); 29 percent have high blood pressure; 25 percent have high cholesterol. Little wonder, as they’re the most likely to have a diet heavy in fried foods (25 percent) and salty/sugary snacks (27 percent). This group also has the highest incidence of buying food from vending machines (36 percent). To top things off, 32 percent of them never exercise. Then there are the Health Illusionists. They’re almost as likely as Truly Healthies to rate their health as excellent. But 41 percent are overweight (among whom more than half are at least25 pounds too heavy). Seventeen percent have high blood pressure; 18 percent have high cholesterol. Thirty-six percent never exercise. Moreover, 21 percent average at least three alcoholic drinks per day, vs. 19 percent of Health Evaders, 8 percent of Truly Healthies and 5 percent of the Worried Well. Thirty-one percent smoke cigarettes, as do 31 percent of Health Evaders, 15 percent of the Worried Well and 9 percent of Truly Healthies.