How Well do You Know Basic Health, Fitness and Nutrition Facts?

New survey shows many Americans are flunking 'fitness class'

Do you know how many calories equate to one pound of fat? The daily recommended amount of sugar intake for adults? What time of day is the best for exercise?

It’s 3,500 calories; nine teaspoons of sugar for men and six for women (according to the American Heart Association); and any time that works best for you, by the way.

If you got the answers to these questions right, then according to a recent survey conducted by Bowflex, your health and fitness IQ is well above average.

“Three specific points that I found really surprising and stuck out the most were that so many people didn't know how many calories it took to lose one pound, the fact that people believe you can turn fat into muscle, and the myths that still exist regarding women and strength training,” said Bowflex Fitness Advisor, Tom Holland.

About 87 percent of the survey respondents thought that strength training would “add bulk, turn fat into muscle and increase chest size” for women.  

“The failure to understand these three basic principles are all very important reasons why so many struggle with being healthy and maintaining a healthy weight,” Holland added.

One reason, Holland explained, so many people failed to answer the survey questions correctly is simply because we’re constantly presented with conflicting information.

“Unfortunately, the health and wellness field is filled with far too many self-proclaimed ‘experts’ who make a lot of money by continuing to perpetuate these myths,” Holland said. “The Internet and social media have only added to this problem. People need to get their health information from educated, reputable sources. One example is the Bowflex Insider blog.”

The survey also found that young adults ages 18 to 24 tended to score higher than older generations. Holland attributes this to the fact that we now have a greater amount of valuable research that’s readily available.

“I believe the older generation simply grew up with significantly less hard, scientific information concerning health, fitness and nutrition,” he said.

When I asked Holland what he feels is the most common misconception that people currently hold about health and fitness, he said it’s that too many people think you need to exercise for at least an hour for it to be worthwhile.

“Many people fail to exercise at all, as a result,” he said. “Studies have shown that shorter workouts, even "micro-workouts" of just a few minutes in duration, add up and confer significant benefits.”

So, if collectively we don’t have a great understanding of basic health and fitness concepts, what steps can we take to better improve our knowledge and in turn, our overall health?

“People need to seek out their information from reputable experts in the field, not simply celebrities and those perpetuating the myths for their own financial gain,” Holland said. “People also need to stop looking for a quick-fix and instead focus on making small, meaningful changes in diet and exercise that they can maintain for a lifetime.”

Additionally, Holland suggests that fitness professionals need to maintain their responsibility by continuing to stay educated and paying attention to the latest exercise and nutrition science.

“[This will] help people make positive behavioral changes that are empirically-based and sustainable,” Holland said.

Find out your score! Take the quiz on Bowflex Insider.

More Reading:
How Exercise Makes You Happy
Fitness and Health Myths You Need to Stop Believing Now
Myths About Weight Loss, And What Science Really Says