- Americans say time and money are the biggest obstacles keeping them from a healthy lifestyle, according to a recent report from Mindbody, a wellness technology platform.
- The lack of a support system is also a commonly cited issue.
- Women struggle with all of these obstacles more than men, the report found. Women are also more likely to report feeling stressed.
- Studies have shown that women are paid less than men, take on more unpaid work that can lead to burnout, and are also more likely to be stressed.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Living a healthy lifestyle can be a constant struggle, whether it’s remembering to eat enough vegetables or working out regularly.
Time and money are the biggest reasons Americans say they struggle with living a healthy lifestyle, and a lack of support is another major factor, according to a recent report from wellness technology platform Mindbody. But while many people grapple with similar setbacks to healthy living, every single obstacle affects women more than it affects men, the report found.
Mindbody’s 2020 Wellness Index surveyed 20,000 adults in the 50 most populous US cities on their fitness and wellness habits. It also analysed health data and data from sources including the US Census Bureau and business listing services.
In the survey, most Americans cited money constraints as the biggest obstacles to healthy living, followed by a lack of time. Other major hindrances were difficulty with self-accountability, a lack of support or being surrounded by unmotivated people, and limited access to healthy food.
While 19% of men said they don’t face any obstacles at all to healthy living, only 14% of women said the same.
Women are more likely to say money is an issue when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle
The discrepancy between the role money plays in men’s and women’s health was particularly apparent in Mindbody’s survey. While 37% of men said money constraints were the biggest factor getting in the way of their health, 46% of women said money was the greatest obstacle.
US Census Bureau data shows that the median full-time female worker makes just 80.7 cents for every dollar her male counterpart makes. Black and Hispanic women face the biggest pay gap when compared to white men.
Women are also more likely than men to report more stress and less support, according to the report. This aligns with research by the American Psychological Association that found that along with being more likely than men to report having a great deal of stress, women are also more likely to report physical symptoms of stress (such as a headache or upset stomach) than men.
This stress could have to do with not feeling well-supported. In Mindbody’s report, more women than men reported that the lack of a sufficient support system was detrimental to living a healthy lifestyle. While 21% of women said it was an obstacle to good health, 18% of men said it was.
Women’s unpaid labour may contribute to their stress and feelings of lack of support
One reason women may report more stress and less support than men is that women do nearly three times as much unpaid domestic work as men, according to a UN report. That can include emotional labour, which Kristin Wrong of The New York Times describes as “the duties that are expected of you, but go unnoticed.”
In the workplace, this can have a negative impact on women’s careers and mental well-being.As Business Insider’s Weng Cheong recently reported, women are often the ones to take on “invisible tasks” like emotionally supporting coworkers or taking notes in meetings, which can lead to burnout.
Burnout can manifest in physical symptoms such as gastrointestinal problems (like abdominal pain, constipation, or diarrhoea), repetitive headaches, back pain, insomnia or chronic exhaustion, and unusual weight fluctuation.
One silver lining for women? On average in the US, they outlive men by five years.