Medifast Survey: 88% of People Experiencing Stress During Pandemic

Nearly nine out of ten U.S. adults (88%) report experiencing stress during the pandemic, according to a survey conducted by Medifast.

Additionally, 82 percent of those surveyed are concerned about at least one aspect of their physical or mental health, and one-fifth are struggling to make progress on their pre-pandemic health goals.

Medifast, the company behind OPTAVIA®, surveyed over 1,000 U.S. adults* to understand the impact of the pandemic and the subsequent shelter in place orders had on their ability to maintain and develop healthy habits, as well as how people are coping during this difficult time.

The surveys most notable findings concluded that:

  • Diet and exercise are top-of-mind for many, with more than half (57%) of respondents concerned about either their weight, overeating or getting enough exercise since the start of the shelter in place orders.
  • Nearly half (46%) of those surveyed reported having difficulty with healthy food habits. Specifically, those respondents report struggling with snacking too much (34%), sticking to a healthy diet (26%) and portion control when eating (19%).
  • Women (52%) are more likely than men (41%) to have difficulty with at least one aspect related to food.

Of the majority of survey respondents who report experiencing stress during the pandemic outbreak, 75 percent are actively looking for ways to manage the increased anxiety. When asked about solutions to stress, the survey finds that people are leaning on their social networks for support, with more than half calling friends and family for help.

“The pandemic has brought significant changes to the lives of every American, in many cases preventing them from achieving physical and mental health goals,” said Medifast Chief Executive Officer Dan Chard. “It’s no surprise that many who are finding it difficult to maintain healthy habits during this time are turning to their communities for support.”

Additional highlights from the Medifast survey include:

  • Stress during the pandemic is affecting women at a higher rate than men, with 50 percent of women being concerned about their stress levels versus only 34 percent of men.
  • Women are more likely to be concerned about their weight, overeating and access to nutritious food compared to their male counterparts during this time.

But there is some good news: half of all respondents reported that they are managing their pandemic related stress by exercising, eating healthfully or cooking, with 90 percent of those surveyed saying that eating healthfully was either “very” or “somewhat” effective in managing their stress.

1,327 nationally representative US adults, ages 18+ through YouGov’s omnibus. The survey was fielded from April 23-24, 2020, with a margin of error of +/- 3% at 95% confidence