Study: You’re Delusional About Your Health

Exercise only for vanity's sake


For exclusive access to all of our fitness, gear, adventure, and travel stories, plus discounts on trips, events, and gear, sign up for Outside+ today.

You’re in denial about your health. According to a new study commissioned by the health-insurance company Aetna, most Americans exercise for vanity’s sake and think they’re healthier than they really are. While 67 percent of respondents believe they need to lose a considerable amount of weight (the median was 25 pounds), 54 percent believe they can still be healthy despite the added heft. 

Researchers surveyed 1,800 Americans about their health habits and what they define a healthy lifestyle to be. Compared to Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials don’t define being healthy as getting recommended screenings or checkups. Instead, they focus on good eating habits and regular physical activity. But Millennials are also more likely to reach for booze when stressed than people from other generations.

Aside from generational differences, men are more likely to peg their health to a major fitness goal, while woman are more likely to focus on upcoming reunions and weddings to kickstart their healthier living. 

promo logo