At the start of 2021, about half of Americans 18 or older were enthusiastic about eating and exercising more in the new year to stay healthy. In a recent CivicScience survey, intent to eat well and get some exercise in 2022 remained at nearly the same levels, although “exercising more” is two percentage points lower with a slight increase in people planning to exercise about the same amount as last year.

Early on during the pandemic, healthy eating habits increased by a few percentage points, but during Q2 of 2021, something changed. In a survey asking why respondents believe they don’t eat healthier, those reporting that they do in fact eat healthy dropped from 37% to 30% of U.S. adults.

The reasons for not eating healthier were mixed, but the most common reason since Q2 of 2021 has been “it’s too expensive.”

It’s very likely this shift in eating habits is related to the rising cost of consumer goods. When asked about how rising prices have affected their grocery shopping, 35% of U.S. adults surveyed (excluding those who were unsure) said they had switched brands for items they usually bought because of price.

In fact, people who recently reported that healthy eating has been impeded by cost are also very likely to say they have switched brands they like because of rising grocery store prices.

Overall trends in dieting indicate people intent on losing weight are less concerned about lowering calories and more interested in eating a balanced diet, a shift that occurred at about the same time as the decrease in healthy eating due to cost.  

In 2021, daily exercisers started off strong but had a series of peaks and valleys before ending up back where they started. 

Barely one month into a new year, people are ready to try again with getting their exercise in, but nutrition is where consumers are possibly waning. While they are trying out new brands at the grocery store, a decent percentage of people intent on losing weight seem to be content with simply achieving a balanced diet. One interesting factor is the number of trips to the doctor people have taken in the last year. Those reporting no trips to the doctor have been steadily decreasing since January 2021.

Whether or not people are visiting the doctor because they are sick or to ensure they don’t get sick, there appears to be a general concern with one’s overall health at this time. If they can’t afford the same healthy foods, they are content making some adjustments while trying to stick to more frequent exercise.