NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s Healthy World report, “A Fragile Nation in Poor Health”, which reveals the majority of Americans fail to follow their doctors’ advice, and uncovers a significant gap in our nation’s healthcare system – lack of patient care between doctor visits. Download it HERE!
Happy marriages are profoundly connected to good health and well-being. Considering 33% of marriages across America fall into this category of “successful, stable and healthy,” the findings of A Fragile Nation in Poor Health, ring true. The study revealed half (50%) of married people across the nation say they are in overall good health, and only 4% of married people in America report being in poor health.
Various studies show married people tend to live longer, healthier lives. For instance, married people are less likely to get pneumonia, have surgery, develop cancer or have heart attacks.
However, when happily married couples add kids to the mix, the pressure to be model parents with perfect kids adds significant stress to the lives of couples, and has telling impacts on their overall health.
Hustle and Bustle
A Fragile Nation in Poor Health revealed more than two in five (46%) parents across the nation say their overall personal health is not in good shape. The constant bustle of school activities, homework, sports, music lessons, birthday parties and other social events takes its toll.
Two words can describe most parents: stressed and tired. When parents aren’t working, taking care of the house, or taking kids from one activity to another, they don’t have time or energy to care for themselves. That means they have a hard time squeezing in exercise and they tend to eat whatever is easiest and quickest. The bottom line is an over-scheduled life leads to weight gain as well as increased rates of stress, anxiety and physical ailments such as headaches, stomach upsets or backaches, skin rashes, recurring colds or flu, or muscle spasms.
Unfortunately, due to their demanding schedules, parents often delay going to the doctor until they get sick or reach a breaking point. And, when they do go to the doctor, they are often seeking a quick fix so they can get better and back to their busy lives.
With this in mind, parents are guilty of ignoring doctor’s orders. In fact, A Fragile Nation in Poor Health revealed 8 in 10 parents (78%) admit they don’t follow treatment plans they’ve been given by their doctor exactly as prescribed.
Good Health Leads to Good Parenting
Many parents lose sight of the fact that they are better able to keep up when they are in good health. The good news is, more than one-third (38%) of parents, who feel they could better follow their prescribed plans, would be likely to do so if they received encouragement from their doctors between visits to stay on course. And, more than two in five (42%) parents would follow instructions better if they received reminders from their doctors via email, voicemail or text telling them to do something specific, like take medication, prepare a healthy meal, take a walk, or a simple reminder “to take time for yourself today.”
Parents are used to self-sacrificing, so they need physicians who remind them that devoting time and effort to being healthier will enable them to be better partners, parents and friends. They also want doctors who help them learn to recognize the symptoms of too much stress, along with some new ways to cope with the myriad of problems they are dealing with every day. They would also be grateful for a physician who simply gave them permission to make time for themselves — to reserve time each week for their own activities. Perhaps there should be a doctor’s note for that!