The recession has been bad for so many things: our bank accounts, our homes and even our relationships. But did you know that it’s also responsible for some of your personal health issues? If you’ve gained weight since the last recession, there’s a strong chance that this has happened because of financial stress — and it doesn’t have to be permanent. Here are seven ways that your health can suffer during economic downturns:
The average American has gained 20 pounds since the recession.
The average American has gained 20 pounds since the recession, with more than half of those extra pounds coming from unhealthy foods. The average American diet is even more unhealthy than it was last year. Americans want to save money, so they’re cooking at home less — and eating out more.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Make your own food and drink more often instead of relying on convenience foods like frozen dinners and fast food meals (which cost $2,000 per year per person when you factor in the cost of health care).
The average American diet is even more unhealthy than it was last year.
While the economy has improved, Americans are eating even less healthy than they did before the recession.
The average American diet is not just worse than it was last year—it’s also worse than it was in previous years. That means that while your parents may have been able to get by on a diet of candy corn, Lunchables, and Hostess products during their younger days (and we’re not judging), you can’t do that today without consequences like diabetes or heart disease.
Americans want to save money, so they’re cooking at home less — and eating out more.
If you’re looking for a way to save money, consider cooking at home more often.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American households spent an average of $2,467 on food away from home in 2017 — compared with $2,058 five years earlier. At the same time, spending on groceries fell by 1% in real terms over that period.
This means that we’re cutting back on eating out and buying cheaper food (think frozen meals) while also focusing more on healthy options like fruits and vegetables — which can cost more than processed foods like macaroni and cheese or canned soup.
Retailers are aware of this trend, and are fixing their marketing strategies to get you to overspend.
Retailers are aware of this trend, and are fixing their marketing strategies to get you to overspend. They know that if they can get you to spend more money, they’ll make more money.
So what’s a retailer to do? Two things—sell you products at a higher price point, or sell you an expensive brand.
If clothing retailers want to lure customers into buying high-end brands (instead of just your usual Old Navy or H&M), the easiest way is by charging more for those brands. They’ll show off how great the materials feel, how well-made the stitching is and how much better your life will be wearing this shirt from Nordstrom instead of Target (and no matter what anyone says about Target’s prices being low, there are still plenty of people who think that it’s worth paying more for something from Nordstrom).
Meanwhile, food prices are rising — including prices for healthier foods like fruits, vegetables and nuts.
Meanwhile, food prices are rising — including prices for healthier foods like fruits, vegetables and nuts. In fact, a recent study by the University of Michigan found that the cost of healthy groceries has risen 3 percent since 2007. Meanwhile, unhealthy foods have gone up 1 percent during that time period.
If you’re trying to eat more healthfully because it’s better for your body and mind, this price increase can be stressful — especially if you’re already feeling strapped for cash after losing a job or simply not being able to afford as many groceries as before.
Food companies are trying to apply for less-healthy labels for their products.
You may have noticed that some food companies are trying to apply for less-healthy labels for their products. They’re arguing that the label “organic” should be applied to things like soda and high-calorie snacks. It’s an attempt to get around the idea that sugary drinks aren’t good for you, while still sneaking them into your diet under the guise of healthfulness.
The same goes with other labels like “natural” or “cage-free,” which are being used as buzzwords by companies who aren’t necessarily as concerned with your health as they are with selling more of their product.
Diet fads are on the rise, and celebrity fad diets aren’t helping.
The reasons for this can be found in the rise of celebrity diets. While some celebrities promote healthy diets and exercise, many more are famous for their unhealthy lifestyles. While we may not be able to copy the exact habits that these celebrities have, such as their constant use of Botox or liposuction, we can adopt some of their other behaviors, including eating fast food and avoiding exercise altogether.
It’s important to note that while many people do follow these fad diets, it does not mean they will work for all people or even any particular person. Instead, these fads are designed to create a market for themselves—and what better way than by promising easy weight loss?
The job market is driving people to stress-eat.
You know what happens when you’re stressed out? You eat. And not just some snack food from the vending machine, either — chances are if you’re stressed, it’s going to be a full-on binge on ice cream and chocolate cake.
The reason for this is simple: stress is a common cause of overeating. In fact, according to Psychology Today, “An estimated 50% of Americans report using food as an emotional coping mechanism.” Stress-eating is a coping mechanism that can quickly go out of control if left unchecked — so next time you find yourself reaching for that pint of Ben & Jerry’s instead of calling up your best friend or petting your cat (or both), take note!
The economy affects all parts of your life, even things that seem unrelated
The economy affects all parts of your life, even things that seem unrelated. Take health. We don’t always think about it this way, but the economy plays a big role in our overall health and wellness. How? For one thing, money troubles can lead to stress-related illnesses like heart disease and high blood pressure. But it goes beyond that:
For example, if you lose your job or have trouble finding work after college graduation and need to move back home with mom and dad (something many millennials have already done), things like getting enough sleep are suddenly less important than making sure there’s food on the table for everyone each night. And when it comes to exercise, you may find yourself skipping your regular gym session because gas prices have skyrocketed since last week’s paycheck disappeared into car repairs instead of groceries—or simply because there aren’t enough hours in the day when all those late nights at work start taking their toll on how often or well you sleep or eat healthy meals together as a family unit
The recession has affected every aspect of your life. It’s affected how much you spend on groceries, how much you exercise and even how many calories you consume in a day. We hope that this article has helped explain why this is happening, and what can be done about it.