Gallup poll: healthy habits take a hit after the storm

Feb 8, 2013

News from the Gallup Wellbeing poll: healthy behaviors declined after Superstorm Sandy in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, the hardest hit states.

The survey found residents less likely to be getting 30 minutes of regular exercise, and less likely to be eating healthy food. Why?

First, due to major power outages and widespread property damage, these residents may not have had time to exercise or the ability to access or keep fresh food. Perhaps they had to resort to unhealthy eating in the six weeks following the storm. Second, these data align with previous American Psychological Association research in stress management, which found that, in times of stress, Americans will engage in unhealthy behaviors such as poor diet choices, smoking, and inactivity.

So, with a major blizzard bearing down on us now, how can we shore up our ability to stay healthy as it arrives, during the worst of it, and in the days and weeks after? Well, safety first, of course: if it's not safe to drive to the grocery store for fresh fruit and vegetables, it's not safe, period. We do our best, right? But canned veggies are no slouch. And there are creative ways to exercise indoors if the snow is too deep for a brisk walk - vigorous cleaning, yoga, leg lifts, whatever. I'm no fitness or nutrition expert, but I've been stuck in bad weather plenty. And I actually love the ways in which a storm like this can challenge you to get creative and make due with what you've got.

Be safe, all!