RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—The results of the American Psychological Association's (APA's) new "Stress in America" report is enough to stress anyone out. Although stress levels this year ranked slightly lower than they were during the peak of the economic pitfall, they are still nearly two times higher than what is considered safe. "America is at a critical crossroads when it comes to stress and our health," says psychologist Norman B. Anderson, PhD, APA’s chief executive officer and executive vice president. "Year after year, nearly three-quarters of Americans say they experience stress at levels that exceed what they define as healthy, putting themselves at risk for developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and depression. Stress is hurting our physical and emotional health and contributing to some of the leading causes of death in this country."
THE DETAILS: The survey includes feedback from more than 1,100 adults across the country, along with a representative sample of more than 1,100 young people ages 8 to 17. Results show that kids are affected by parents' stress. Children who said their parents always seemed stress were more than seven times more likely to report being stressed out themselves. About half of all tweens and teens reported resorting to sedentary behavior (listening to music, watching TV, or playing video games) when stress levels were high. Women were 8 percent more likely than men to feel high stress levels, with nearly 50 percent of women reporting that stress levels increased during the last five years—and more than 30 percent of them admitting to eating to alleviate stress. Ladies are also more likely to experience headaches, indigestion, and the need to cry when compared to their male counterparts.
The report also found that more stress is linked to more health problems, most notably, according to the report, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic pain, and overweight. People with high stress levels are more likely to have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorders, or chronic pain. Although doctors and nurses overwhelmingly prescribe more exercise and weight loss to help combat stress, most stressed-out people don't take the advice. Lack of willpower was the most common thing standing in the way of good health, the survey found.