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Poll: Sandy Still Affecting Health, Habits Of Those Devastated By Storm

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Aerials from Governor Dannel Malloy's tour of damage from Hurricane Sandy. (Credit: Connecticut National Guard)

Aerials from Governor Dannel Malloy’s tour of damage from Hurricane Sandy. (Credit: Connecticut National Guard)

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WASHINGTON (CBS Connecticut) – A recent Gallup Poll indicates that many who were affected by the damaging winds and rains of Hurricane Sandy have still not resumed the healthy habits they had adopted before the storm.

Healthy eating habits were especially impacted – 67 percent of those living in the most affected zip codes throughout Connecticut, New York and New Jersey saying they ate in a healthy manner throughout the day before being asked just after Hurricane Sandy had hit.

Before the storm, 73 percent of people living in the same areas said they had adhered to a better diet the day before Gallup polled them on the matter. And when asked earlier this year, the figure rose only slightly to 69 percent.

Meanwhile, a 3-percent decline was also seen in healthy eating for the rest of those three states, which has remained stagnant one year later. Throughout the rest of the nation, declines were far less severe.

“The smoking rate remains elevated in the most affected areas, at 16 percent,” a release on the poll’s findings also indicated. “This is similar to the 17 percent who reported smoking in the weeks immediately following Superstorm Sandy, but statistically greater than the 14 percent who smoked before the storm.”

Researchers added, “Smoking rates in the rest of America are unchanged from what they were before the disaster.”

Not all of the news was negative, however – exercise rates are showing more significant improvements following Sandy. Though residents of the three states focused on in the study saw declines in exercise after the storm, exercise rates have almost returned entirely to their pre-Sandy levels, even among those most affected by the storm.

All the same, those involved in the poll remain concerned that “it seems less likely that healthy eating will recover in the most affected areas, as it has significantly declined across the entire United States.”

Polling took place in September through December of 2012, as well as September, October and November of this year. Thousands of randomly selected American adults participated in the study, according to the release.

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