Survey: E-commerce is making Americans fatter

Gina Acosta
Executive Editor
gina acosta
The study said on-demand services such as meal delivery, ride sharing, streaming TV, online shopping, etc. are making America fatter.

A new survey from the Harris Poll suggests that today's "on-demand," device-focused way of life is making Americans fatter.

Health care professionals and U.S. adults surveyed by the Harris Poll say that screen time (i.e., everyday use of mobile, tablet and computer screens) keeps Americans from moving around today as much as we did in years past (95% of PCPs, 97% of pharmacists, 88% of U.S. adults).

They also said that on-demand services such as meal delivery, ride sharing, streaming TV, online shopping, etc. are having the same effect (82% of PCPs, 84% of pharmacists, 80% of U.S. adults).

The survey findings also show that health care professionals are worried about a trend toward eating habits driven by lack of time, with most being concerned that Americans not taking the time to plan healthy meals will negatively impact their weight (98% of PCPs, 97% of pharmacists) and their family's weight (97% of PCPs, 97% of pharmacists). 

"These findings highlight that while the way we live has changed dramatically over the past 10-20 years, our approach to weight loss has not evolved sufficiently to address those changes. The results underscore that we need to take a step back and evaluate what weight-loss strategies can best set people up for success given the demands of their daily lives," said Frank Greenway, M.D., medical director and professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA.

Anna McAlister, an associate professor in the Curtis L. Gerrish School of Business at Endicott College, recently co-authored a Michigan State University study that found simultaneously using multiple screens can cause consumers to make bad food choices.

The researchers found that when people engaged in multitasking activities that made them feel good -- like shopping online while watching TV and texting -- they were more likely to eat healthy. But when the tasks were stressful -- like reading an article online and filling out a quiz -- participants in the study ate 32% more unhealthy snacks than healthy snacks.

"Media multitasking can affect rationalization process," Michigan State's Anastasia Kononova, the study's lead author, said. "Our main finding was that people like some media multitasking situations and hate others. And, when using multiple screens makes people feel stressed or overwhelmed, they eat worse." The study involved 140 participants and was published in Computers in Human Behavior. 

The Harris Poll survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll between Oct. 13 and Nov. 6, 2017. The consumer arm of the survey included a total of 1,005 U.S. adults ages 18+, of whom, 713 are currently trying (n=429) or have ever tried (n=284) to lose weight. The professional arm of the survey included 961 U.S. adults ages 18+ who are primary care physicians (n=458) or pharmacists (n=503). 

To see the rest of the survey data, click here.


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