Despite the debate over the Affordable Health Care Act, one important facet asks people to take responsibility for their own health. Over time, our country has undergone a shift in health threats from communicable disease to chronic disease. In fact, many Americans are now living daily with a chronic disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes or cardiovascular disease. These chronic diseases not only burden our quality of life they additionally burden the health care expenditures in our country. The question becomes how do people lead a healthy lifestyle to prevent chronic disease or prevent disease from worsening and optimize outcomes?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Good nutrition and adequate physical activity are among the most important influencers of health. Given the WHO definition lets look at optimizing outcomes?
Know Your Numbers
When looking at the current rates of chronic disease, nutritional intake and decreasing physical demands have played a major role in their development. As food available for consumption has increased in all major categories, the availability of energy dense foods that lack nutritive value has coincided. At the same time, increased portion sizes and sedentary lifestyles have further tipped the scales leaving a gap between energy in vs. energy out.
Do you know your BMI? Your Cholesterol level? HDL’s? Bone-Density or your Blood Pressure? And if you do, what are you doing to get them or maintain them in normal ranges? A Registered Dietitian can help you create a lifestyle that incorporates nutrient-rich foods to promote well-being. Registered Dietitian’s are the experts in food and nutrition who can translate current recommendations for good health into real life food to help keep your numbers in check.
Exercise Your Options
Is walk to you a four letter word? When is the last time you moved your body? The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we pick activities that we like and start small. Even 10 minute increments over time can add up, as you spend more time being active the health benefits increase.
Many registered dietitians are additionally certified in physical fitness or work closely with fitness experts.They may additionally work at community centers or local fitness facilities where they can be accessed at reasonable or nominal fees. Combined they can help find ways to achieve at least 30 minutes of movement in your day or more optimally 60 minutes. Make an appointment today and find out: What moves you?
Numerous studies have suggested that strong social ties are associated with better health and longevity, a sweeping review of the research in 2010 showed that people who have strong ties to family, friends or co-workers have a 50 percent lower risk of dying over a given period than those with fewer social connections.
Good friends help increase the sense of belonging and purpose, boost happiness, reduce stress, improve self-worth, help cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one and may even encourage changing and following healthy lifestyle habits, such as drinking only in moderation or getting a minimum amount of exercise.
Embracing the WHO definition of health can help people develop a lifestyle that supports health and well-being. Eating well to keep your numbers in check, moving more to increase physical fitness and staying social can optimize health outcomes. In turn, we can all contribute to reversing the trend towards chronic disease in our country. So do your part, own your outcomes!