90% Of Gen Z Are Physically Active, But Bad Food Habits And Mental Health Issues Remain A Concern

90% Of Gen Z Are Physically Active, But Bad Food Habits And Mental Health Issues Remain A Concern

While Generation Z & Millennials prioritise physical activity, good food habits and mental health are taking a backseat.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : November 18, 2022 1:31 PM IST

Younger generations may seem to be more involved in physical activities, but they are also more likely to indulge in unhealthy food habits nd suffer from mental health issues. A recent health survey conducted by Jindal Naturecure Institute involving participants from Generation Z & Millennials (age group 15 29) revealed that while the majority (90 per cent) of Gen Z participate in physical activities every day of the week, 38per cent indulge in junk and fast food consumption at least twice a week. Equally concerning is the fact that over 39 per cent of them suffer from mental health issues like anxiety, eating disorders or depression.

The survey results showed that only 18.4 per cent of the participants suffered from health issues like obesity, hypertension and thyroid disease. While it's evident that the majority of the participants prioritize bolstering their overall health, the consumption of junk food can pose a threat in the long term. A review of studies on fast food and heart health found that consuming fast food more than once every week was linked to a higher risk of obesity while eating fast food more than twice a week was associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and death from coronary heart disease.

Healthy eating and mental health take a backseat

Dr.Babina NM, Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute, stated that their survey indicated that while staying active remains a priority for most Gen Z & Millennials, less focus is given on good food habits and mental health.

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She noted that people living with mental illness are prone to developing a wide range of chronic physical conditions as mental health disorders can lead to hormonal imbalances and irregular sleep cycles. Also, psychiatric medications can cause a range of side effects including weight gain and irregular heart rhythms. These symptoms create an increased vulnerability to a range of physical conditions by the time they're in their mid-30s or 40s.

Mental illnesses can affect their physical health as well. "They may adopt unhealthy eating and sleeping habits, smoke or abuse substances, as a consequence or response to their symptoms, contributing to worse health outcomes," Dr.Babina said.

What we eat and drink every day affects our health and well-being, both physically and mentally. Good nutrition, along with regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight while reducing the risk of chronic diseases. However, consuming regular amounts of fast and junk food can impact the quality of health and will have negative effects on the body.

Alternative therapies can come to their rescue

Another interesting facet of this survey was that almost 85 of the participants believe that alternative therapies like yoga, meditation, and naturopathy can help improve their overall health, stated Dr.Babina.

"A highly connected world and constant pressure to perform, work, and relationships are some main causes of increased anxiety, stress, and depression among the Gen Z population. As these young adults work to develop their resilience, it is important for Gen Z to seek out a holistic approach to health through yoga, meditation, and other alternative therapies to take care of their physical, emotional, and mental health. Not only can these alternative therapies enhance physical health but also address a range of mental health issues starting from anxiety to depression to eating disorders. These alternative therapies can have a profound impact on a person's life by helping them react the right way to stress and challenging emotions and situations," she added.