Despite a year full of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, many Americans have made huge strides in improving their health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Healthinsurance.com, a health insurance marketplace based in Mountain View, Calif., found in a new survey that the health crisis spurred many adults into making positive lifestyle changes over the past year.
For instance, 80% of Americans have become more focused on their health since the pandemic started and 73% have improved their self-care habits In contrast, a previous Healthinsurance.com survey from last June, focusing on similar topics, showed that 72% of respondents were paying extra attention to their health since the pandemic started, while 31% had noted their self-care habits had improved since beginning a work-from-home routine.
Americans report improvement in sentiments surrounding health and health care
A Healthinsurance.com survey from May 2021 found that 55% of Americans gained weight during the pandemic. But as restrictions on public gatherings lift, people are improving their appearance in anticipation of a return to a more "normal" life.
Nearly half of all respondents (49%) in this latest survey plan on dieting ahead of the summer season. This may explain the 52% of adults using wearable technology (such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch) to keep better track of their health and daily movement — which only 41% were using this time last year.
The Healthinsurance.com survey also looked at respondents' sentiments toward health care. It found that despite rising health care costs, 67% of adults believe that the U.S. health care system has improved since the start of the pandemic — compare that with the 78% who saw the system as worse off or unchanged during the pandemic in a survey from September of last year.
With the health crisis challenging our health care system came a rise in the usage of telemedicine. In March 2021, almost half of those surveyed (47%) said they used telemedicine during the pandemic, whereas in March 2020, only 9% said they had — a striking 422% increase since the onset.
These figures — combined with the fact that 62% say the pandemic has changed how they use health care — suggest that the use of telemedicine since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak has improved the overall patient experience in the country.
However, we still have some ways to go: Healthinsurance.com also found that the majority of Americans (56%) still don't speak to anyone about their mental health, despite the large toll this past year has had on most people (notably, in the June 2020 survey, it was 25% of respondents that said they didn’t discuss their mental health).
Respondents plan on a slow but steady return to normal life
The new survey also revealed that 78% of American adults plan on traveling this summer — perhaps due to 51% of respondents feeling the need to take time off from work. But with 48% of vaccinated people still worried about contracting the virus, many will maintain additional safety precautions while on vacation. These measures include:
- Wearing a mask in public (77%)
- Traveling by car this summer (70%)
And although 59% of respondents shared concerns about returning back to their pre-pandemic routines, their actions tell a slightly different story. In fact, many have already resumed activities they couldn't do during the pandemic, such as:
- Going to restaurants and bars (59%)
- Going to other people's houses (58%)
- Visiting a shopping mall (54%)
- Traveling (38%)
Methodology: On behalf of Healthinsurance.com, pollster Scott Rasmussen conducted an online survey of 1,000 adults between June 2 and June 6, 2021. Survey fieldwork was conducted by RMG Research, Inc.
Quotas were applied to the survey sample and weighted by age, education, gender, geography, political party and race to reflect the national population.