The bad economy has forced many Americans to cut down or even give up on buying fresh foods, healthy activities have also been cut such as exercising regularly.

Yet another negative result of the bad economy: Americans are cutting back on healthy activities such as eating fresh foods and exercising regularly.

The American Heart Association conducted a survey on 1,000 people in March 2009 revealing the following results:

• 57 percent said the economy has affected their ability to take care of their health.

• 32 percent have made a change in the last six months to save money, such as delaying preventive care appointments, not taking medications or skipping the dentist.

• 25 percent of those with gym memberships have cancelled in the previous six months.

• 42 percent plan to make changes in the next six months that may impact their health, such as buying fewer fruits and vegetables.

Results of the study spell trouble for Americans' overall well-being and heart health in particular, said Timothy Gardner, M.D., President of the American Heart Association.

We've made dramatic gains in recent years in our fight against heart disease and stroke, but trends like these threaten to reverse these gains.”

The American Heart Association encourages walking because it's the most accessible form of physical activity and it has the lowest drop out rate among Americans.

The important thing is to make sure you are getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. We encourage people to incorporate regular walking into their normal routines, such as during the work day, Gardener added.

Cardiovascular disease continues to be the nation's leading cause of death.