Aviva USA Survey Finds Financial Situation is Top Stressor for Men and Links Stress Levels to Weight Gain

Most American men feel healthy, despite reporting risk factors for future health problems
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A new survey by Aviva USA, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, finds the primary factor contributing to stress for men is their financial situation. The survey also reveals a strong correlation between high levels of stress and dramatic weight gain among US males.

Four out of five men consider themselves to be in good to excellent health, despite nearly half of them having gained weight over the past 10 years and two out of three saying they feel stressed.Two out of three men report they are stressed, with financial situation being the top contributing factor for a third of the men surveyed. Family/relationships are a distant second-leading factor. In addition to the linkage between stress and finances, 45 percent of men also reported gaining weight over the past 10 years. Only 19 percent of men reported losing weight during the same time period.

“Studies have found that, on average, men tend to push off doctor visits longer than women, often avoiding going to the doctor until a major health problem arises,” said Dr. Philip Hagen, medical director of Mayo Clinic EmbodyHealth and vice chair of the Division of Preventive and Occupational Medicine at Mayo Clinic. “In this survey, we’re seeing some of these same avoidance tendencies among male respondents. Men overall described themselves as being in good health, while at the same time reporting health risk factors, such as weight gain and high levels of stress.”

Aviva USA and Mayo Clinic encourage all Americans to visit their doctor regularly and establish daily habits to improve their overall health and well-being. That call to action for men is particularly timely in support of National Men’s Health Week, June 11-17.

The correlation between weight and stress is pronounced. Specifically, men who indicate a large decrease in weight tend to be less affected by stress. However, men who are extremely stressed are more than three times as likely to have a dramatic increase in weight over the last 10 years compared to other male respondents. Moreover, men who are extremely stressed are five times more likely to experience significant weight gain compared to unstressed men.

Aviva USA surveyed more than 2,000 US adults – men and women – on their health habits and financial preparedness to uncover how these factors impact their overall well-being. The survey was conducted by Ipsos, a leading global survey-based market research company.

Additional key findings related to men are:

  • One in four men rarely or never exercises.
  • When asked to identify the factor that most contributes to their stress, 34 percent of men said financial situation, 17 percent said family/relationships, 12 percent said job stability, 10 percent said the fast pace of life and 8 percent said their health.
  • Sixty-two percent of men who are extremely stressed are also uncomfortable with their financial situation. In contrast, only 21 percent of those who say they are not stressed claim to be uncomfortable with their financial situation.
  • Even though men identified financial situation as the biggest factor contributing to stress, half of all men surveyed said they rarely discuss finances with anyone.
  • Only three in 10 men are comfortable with their current financial situation, and only about one in 15 are very comfortable.
  • Despite the general discomfort with their financial situation, only one in five men currently work with a financial planner or advisor.

“Our survey findings show there is a need for men to increase their awareness of their overall health as it relates to stress, weight and their financial preparedness,” said Chris Jones, chief marketing officer for Aviva USA. “It’s interesting that so few men work with a financial professional despite the unpredictability of financial markets, and that so many avoid doctors even though methods to monitor and maintain your health are generally predictable.

“This trend is one of the motives behind our relationship with Mayo Clinic,” Jones continued. “The key for men is to make a plan and then work the plan to improve their overall health and financial situation. That’s the underlying principle behind our Wellness for Life rider, which enables people to save money on their life insurance while also staying healthy with access to wellness resources from Mayo Clinic.”

Wellness for Life is a unique life insurance program that can reduce out-of-pocket premium costs over time. The cost of insurance charge is discounted if the insured visits the doctor at least every other year for physical exams, and cost savings are even greater if the insured simply maintains his or her weight within a range established at policy issue. Additionally, Mayo Clinic, an internationally renowned healthcare organization, offers supporting resources and expertise to help policy holders manage their health through the Aviva Wellness for Life program. Best of all, premium costs can only go down with the Wellness for Life program and will never increase as a result of doctor visits.

The most recent television advertisement about Aviva’s Wellness for Life can be seen on avivausa.com.