ADA, Mich., Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ — While 93 percent of Americans report attempting to make everyday choices to be healthy and live well, nearly half (47 percent) struggle to do so, according to the Amway Global Wellness Index, a recent national survey of more than 15,000 Americans regarding their health and wellness. The two main barriers that prevent people from living a healthier lifestyle are lack of time (39 percent) and the rising cost of a balanced diet (21 percent). The top three wellness challenges, according to survey respondents, are getting enough exercise, getting enough sleep and maintaining a well-balanced diet. (Note: Statistics are available for each state.)

The Economy, Election, Wellness

Forty-two percent of Americans report that the economy is having a negative impact on their wellness choices, and personal wellness issues will affect the results of the election. In fact, 33 percent of Americans claim that the candidates' positions on personal wellness will influence how they vote this election. Current economic conditions appear to have a greater impact on the unemployed, with the wellness of 51 percent of non-working parents negatively impacted, versus 43 percent of working parents. According to survey respondents, the health decisions of women are affected more by the economy than men (44 percent versus 40 percent, respectively).

Wellness Challenges: Exercise, Sleep, Nutrition

While Americans say getting enough exercise is the most challenging part of living a healthy life (38 percent), only 24 percent believe regular exercise at least three days per week is the most critical aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Getting enough sleep is reported as the second greatest challenge (34 percent), with eating a well-balanced diet (25 percent) coming in third. Four in 10 (43 percent) aged 55 and older claim to struggle with making healthy choices, compared to 48 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds and 50 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds.

"Wellness isn't just about the scale, it's about a holistic approach — from getting adequate sleep and exercise to reducing stress and eating a balanced diet," says Steve Lieberman, Amway Global's managing director. "To continue helping millions improve their health, we have teamed up with YMCA of the USA on a wellness initiative, which includes our participation in America On the Move Week with the YMCA, including 100 free wellness events at select Ys across the country. We hope this collaboration and the findings from this survey will help others identify their wellness challenges and goals. Amway Global is a leader in nutrition marketing, so we feel very strongly about this cause."

Free YMCA Wellness Events

In support of individuals and families struggling to make healthier choices, Amway Global and the YMCA are hosting free wellness events open to the public at 100 select YMCAs on Sept. 20, 2008. As a first step, health seekers can go to http://www.inspirewellness.com and take the Stanford Health and Lifestyle Assessment. Then, they can bring their summary reports to a local YMCA to talk with a health and wellness staff member about steps they can take toward a healthier life. Go to http://www.inspirewellness.com for a list of participating YMCAs.

"The YMCA recognizes that a large percentage of Americans desire a healthier lifestyle but struggle to achieve it," says Jonathan Lever, YMCA of the USA's National Director of Activate America. "We are pleased to have this opportunity to help close some of the gaps indicated in the Amway Global Wellness Index by providing solutions to the obstacles that confront so many people on their journey toward health and well-being."

Additional Amway Global Wellness Index Results

Exercise Is Not on the Rise

Despite a national push to make better wellness choices, Americans are sedentary. The survey shows more than one in five (23 percent) — or close to 51.7 million people — are not exercising for at least 30 minutes or more at a time on a regular basis. That's well under the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendation of a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per day or a minimum of 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity three days a week. When it comes to the work commute, 89 percent of people drive or use public transportation. However, when people do exercise, the focus is on general wellness (35 percent), cardio/endurance (25 percent), weight loss (18 percent) and muscle tone (12 percent).

"Weight"ing for a Reality Check

According to the Amway Global Wellness Index, perception and reality don't seem to align when it comes to weight. Forty-five percent of Americans consider themselves obese or overweight, yet the CDC reports that an estimated 66 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese (2003-2004 study). Only four percent of people perceive themselves as obese, while in actuality, more than one-third of U.S. adults — or more than 72 million people — were obese in 2005/2006, according to the CDC. A higher proportion of American parents (45 percent) report being overweight than do non-parents (34 percent). Further, half of those Americans who feel the economy is having a negative impact on their wellness choices consider themselves obese or overweight.

Less Stress Is Needed

Two in five Americans (40 percent) report having a "very" or "somewhat" high stress level, according to the Amway Global Wellness Index. Half of Americans find that talking to family and friends is a highly effective way of coping. Increasing physical activity (38 percent) and sleep (33 percent) also top the list, while 18 percent turn to food for comfort and 17 percent practice yoga. Only nine percent of Americans decrease the time they spend using technology gadgets to reduce stress.

About the Amway Global Wellness Index

The Amway Global Wellness Index is a national survey of 15,035 American adults ages 18 and older which uncovers American views toward the concept of health and wellness as well as and individual, family and community wellness. Commissioned by Amway Global, the study has an estimated margin of error of +/-0.8 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. For more information and state-specific statistics, go to http://www.inspirewellness.com.

About Amway Global

Amway Global offers the opportunity for people to have a business of their own based on retailing products and sharing the opportunity with others who will do the same. Amway Global supports Independent Business Owners (IBOs) with a proven compensation plan, portfolios of quality products in health, beauty and other consumer categories, plus the merchandising materials, training and education they need to be successful. IBOs also are supported by communities of those who have already built successful businesses. Amway Global has been ranked the No. 1 online health and beauty retailer based on sales, and 26th among all e-commerce sites, according to Internet Retailer magazine, based on 2007 sales. Based in Ada, Mich., Amway Global is the North American affiliate of Amway Corp., a worldwide leader in direct selling, with more than three million IBOs in more than 80 countries and territories around the world. The Amway business opportunity operated as Quixtar Inc. in North America from 1999 until 2008. As Amway transforms its North American business with exceptional new products, expanded support, and enhanced compensation, the company is leveraging its ties to the nearly $7 billion international Amway business and transitioning to the Amway Global brand in North America.

SOURCE Amway Global

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