Staying at Home: How Well Did Americans Maintain Their Health Behaviors?

The Monday Campaigns conducted a short survey with Researchscape International to better understand how people were able to maintain their healthy behaviors and health goals during the pandemic. The findings suggest that people have been less consistent with healthy behavior during the pandemic, but those who reported positive feelings about Monday as a fresh start were more likely to report that they were in better health. Below is a short summary of those findings.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people’s sense of schedule has eroded:

  • 46% of all respondents say it is extremely or very true of them that they sometimes lose track of what day of the week it is
  • 41% report that they miss having weekly plans to look forward to
  • 38% say that lack of a structured weekly schedule makes it harder to accomplish their goals

There were multiple reasons people gave for not meeting their health goals during the pandemic: 

  • 44% are sitting around more than usual
  • 41% are eating or snacking more frequently 
  • 41% do not feel motivated
  • 34% lost a regular routine

People are generally feeling less healthy since the onset of the pandemic, with those rating their health good or excellent dropping from 64% to 57%. Survey participants also reported that they are less likely to be doing physical activity: 

  • 28% are exercising less often, compared to 16% exercising more often​
  • 17% are doing strength training less often, compared to 9% doing it more often​
  • 15% are doing indoor exercise less often, compared to 10% doing it more often

Over 4 out of 5 Americans couldn’t hold back from sweet and salty foods. 86% of respondents listed at least one item of junk food that was hard to resist:

  1. Chips (42%)
  2. Ice Cream (40%)
  3. Cookies (37%)
  4. Sugary drinks​ (30%)
  5. Bread and carbs​ (29%)
  6. Cheesy food (28%)

However, compared to the beginning of the pandemic 34% of respondents reported eating more fruits and vegetables.

Despite difficulties maintaining resolutions during the pandemic in 2020,  more intend to set resolutions for better health in 2021:

  • 10% more Americans intend to eat healthier this year compared to last year (increased 29% to 39%)
  • 11% more intend to maintain a healthy weight (increased 26% to 37%)
  • 6% more will try to get more exercise  (increased 30% to 36%)
  • 6% more want to improve stress management practices (increased 20% to 26%)

Those with a positive feeling about Monday reported being in better health during the pandemic:

  • Those who see Mondays as a fresh start rate their health highest: 71% rate it excellent or good. This was significantly higher than the other feelings about Monday.
  • The same percentage (71%) of those that do not lose track of the day of the week also reported that their health was good or excellent. 

About the Survey

The Monday Campaigns commissioned a survey in November 2020 to assess the national attitude of how people feel about Monday and the role that having a temporal cue may have in maintaining healthy behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The results in this summary are from an online omnibus survey conducted by Researchscape International, that was fielded from November 10 to 11, 2020. It had 1,063 respondents all of whom completed the survey. The results presented in this summary were weighted to be representative of the overall population by the following variables: Age, Education, Education Status, Political Ideology, Gender, Census Region, Ethnicity, Registered Voter and Evangelical Christian.