Only 2.7 percent of the U.S. adult population live a “healthy lifestyle”

A new study finds that less than 3% of the population are sticking to a healthy llifestyle.

Only 2.7 percent of the U.S. adult population live a “healthy lifestyle”

Image via (cc) Flickr user Steven Pisano

Good diet. Moderate exercise. A recommended body fat percentage. Not smoking. Odds are, you're not doing it right.

Researchers from Oregon State University and the University of Mississippi used these four basic parameters to define healthy behavior and determine how many people adhere to them. These characteristics were selected because they are general, basic advice that doctors use to advise patients. They are qualities that help prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.

Unfortunately, according to the findings, only 2.7 percent of all adults met all four healthy lifestyle characteristics, 16 percent had three of the categories, 37 percent had two, 34 percent had one, and 11 percent had none. An excerpt from the study explains:

“The purpose of this study was 2-fold. First was to estimate the prevalence of fundamental healthy lifestyle characteristics, namely, regular physical activity, normal body fat percentage, healthy diet, and abstaining from smoking, across age, sex, and race/ethnicity for adults living in the United States. Second was to examine the association between different subsets of jointly occurring healthy lifestyle characteristics and cardiovascular disease biomarkers related to cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar."

The study relied on a large survey from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which canvassed 4,745 people. “We weren't looking for marathon runners," said Ellen Smit, the study's senior author as well as a associate professor in the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences. “This is pretty low, to have so few people maintaining what we would consider a healthy lifestyle. This is sort of mind boggling. There's clearly a lot of room for improvement."