BY KATHRYN MAYER
Here’s at least one advantage to not having a hefty salary: Low-income Americans experience a bigger emotional payoff for exercising and eating well.
According to The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, low income people report a bigger emotional boost from frequent exercise and good eating habits than richer people do.
The Emotional Health Index score is based on Americans’ self-reports of positive and negative daily emotions, as well as self-reported clinical diagnoses of depression. Findings are based on 180,299 interviews with American adults conducted between Jan. 2 and July 8.
Low-income adults who exercise three or more days per week are about seven percentage points more likely than their counterparts who exercise less than that to report experiencing happiness “a lot of the day yesterday.” Those Americans experience a bigger exercise bonus than do those with higher incomes in terms of daily smiling and laughter, enjoyment and happiness. They’re also less likely to experience depression than higher income adults who exercise.
U.S. adults at all income brackets who ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables at least four days per week reported widespread emotional health benefits, the report notes. But it is particularly evident in those earning less than $36,000 per year.