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Many Americans Are More Stressed, Less Rested and Spending Less Time with Family and Friends, Cigna Finds

America is only the ninth ranked country for health and well-being, according to new research…

  • April 17, 2019

America is only the ninth ranked country for health and well-being, according to new research from health service company Cigna.

Cigna’s annual global 360 well-being survey, Well and Beyond, also found that more Americans than ever are stressed, particularly about physical, family and workplace wellness, less rested and spending less time with family and friends.

Well and Beyond is an annual study that explores perceptions of well-being across five key indicators – physical, family, social, financial and work – in 22 countries, including the United States.

It found that overall health and well-being of Americans declined by 1.2 points, placing the U.S. slightly above the global average and on par with European countries, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

The decline was driven primarily by deterioration of workplace wellness, followed by physical and family wellness. All demographics show some level of decline, and the sandwich generation aged 35-49 is the least positive.

More Americans not prioritizing physical health

More Americans reported insufficient sleep in quantity and quality, less exercise and worsening eating habits negatively impacting their physical well-being.

Only 28 percent reported being at a healthy weight and just 33 percent know their Body Mass Index (BMI). More than 60 percent know their blood pressure and 85 percent believe that high blood pressure is curable with lifestyle change, but nearly one in three reported not taking action to address potentially problematic symptoms.

High incidence of stress across demographics

Four of five Americans report feeling stressed and 15 percent feel that stress is unmanageable. Working women report higher levels of stress (88 percent) than working men (80 percent).

Despite the high incidence of stress, Americans feel a profound lack of support from employers in managing this important health issue.

Only 25 percent of Americans report any assistance or support from their employer in managing stress – a 17 percent decline from 2018. Nearly three of five Americans (61 percent) reported that their employer did not provide or sponsor any form of workplace wellness program.

For those with programs in place, more than a third feel that they fail to address mental well-being. Self-help solutions like exercise, talking to friends and sleep are the top avenues people are trying to beat stress.

Seeking professional help is not widely common in America yet (10 percent), though many find it quite and/or very effective once tried (44 percent). Comparatively, Americans are less stressed than the global average, with unmanageable stress ranking similar to European markets and Oceania.

Americans lacking quality sleep

Only 35 percent of Americans report they get sufficient sleep at night, down six points from 2017 and just 32 percent of Americans report having “good quality sleep,” down eight points from 2017. American men (36 percent) claim to be sleeping better and longer than women (28 percent).

Time spent with family and friends on the decline

Only 45 percent of Americans attested to feeling excellent or very good about the amount of time they spend with their family, compared to 51 percent in 2017. Just 62 percent of Americans spend sufficient time with friends, down five points from the previous year.

Americans reported having fewer friends to talk openly with, and less in-person interactions with both family and friends.

This is consistent with Cigna’s U.S. Loneliness Index finding that nearly half of Americans lack daily meaningful in-person social interactions.

Cigna has made a short, 10-item questionnaire available to everyone, age 18 and over at no cost, to help assess feelings of loneliness and also receive tips to help increase social connections and improve feelings of vitality.