Gym Rats and Couch Potatoes on the Healthcare Debate

Tim Duer

Healthcare, Polling, Exercise Habits

March 3, 2022

Gym Rats and Couch Potatoes on the Healthcare Debate

A Causeway Solutions poll of 600 national respondents conducted in late 2021 shows several different attitudes regarding healthcare in this country. While some differences of opinion were drawn along expected party lines, a deeper review of the respondents revealed a noted divergence based upon the exercise tendencies of respondents.

The exercise behavior of respondents was based on the question “In a typical week, how many days do you perform 20 or more minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity sports, fitness, or recreational activities?” Of the 600 respondents, 18% fell in the “low” exercise frequency group with 0 or 1 day of exercise per week, 60% were in the “moderate” group with 2 to 5 days per week of exercise and 22% were in the “high” group with 6 or 7 days of exercise.

A large differentiator between groups was not a surprise; 94% of high-frequency exercisers rated their current health as good or very good compared to their peers, as opposed to only 53% of low-frequency exercisers falling into this healthy category. These low-frequency exercisers were aware of the impacts of this more sedentary lifestyle with +12% rating their health as Poor or Very Poor, as compared to only 5% of the total. There is also a correlation between the presence of a primary care doctor (PCP) impacting this health status rating. While 88% of the total have a PCP, only 74% of low exercisers do and 97% of high-frequency exercisers have a PCP to deliver their care.

When questioned about healthcare spending in the United States, 50% of all respondents felt that the country spent too much on healthcare but 69% of the high-frequency exercise group did. Based on that response, it may not come as a surprise that the high exercise group also placed the least value on cost in consideration of their healthcare. Only 3% of this group indicated that they valued “cost” most in healthcare, compared to 7% and a whopping 90% placing the most value on “service” and “quality”, respectively. The total respondent group also favored “quality” the most, accounting for 70% of responses, however, only 55% of low exercise respondents chose this option. This low exercise group placed a higher value on “cost,” with 28% of respondents choosing this option compared to 18% of the total.

Next, we turned to social media usage between these exercise groups and the responses may come as a surprise. The high-frequency exercise group is finding ways to maximize every minute of their 24-hour days because this group also showed the highest participation in every online community. While 12% of the low-frequency exercisers said they did not use any of the social media platforms, only 2% of high-frequency exercisers selected “none”. High-frequency exercisers were avid users of every platform. For example, 94% said that they use Facebook, compared to the average response of 84%. The greatest differences in usage were seen with Reddit and Quora, where high-frequency exercisers were 28% and 24% more likely to use these platforms than the total respondent group. Maybe it is sleep deprivation or maybe it's just that extra drive for performance, but these high-frequency exercisers demonstrate an ability to take everything that they do to a peak level.

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