What health problems are the most common in our country and world?
Chronic disease and conditions.
And they’re also the most costly.
Heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and chronic respiratory illnesses lead the list.
But health experts say those chronic illnesses also are among the most preventable.
And that’s because their primary risk factors are unhealthy behaviors that can be changed.
“Four of these health risk behaviors—lack of exercise or physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and drinking too much alcohol—cause much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases and conditions,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And the World Health Organization says it’s the same elsewhere in the world.
Chronic Disease Risk Factors
A study published in 2015 in the Journal of Community Medicine and Health Education lists factors that contribute to chronic disease:
- Poor diet and body fat
- Physical inactivity
- Tobacco use
- Mental illness
- Poor medication adherence
- High alcohol consumption
- Excess salt intake
These point to a need for better health habits and lifestyle changes. But making those changes feels like it’s easier said than done, doesn’t it?
Other Approaches to Reduce Chronic Disease
The 2015 study in the Journal of Community Medicine and Health Education called for a multi-faceted effort:
- Increase government policy and regulation
- Improve the physical environment where it’s difficult to access healthy food and physical activity
- Value community-based health initiatives more
- Install workplace wellness programs
- Use technology to help change behaviors
These initiatives could help reduce chronic disease risks. And they may take some time. But personally, right now, we can take some steps on our own.
Move your body regularly. And maintain a healthy weight. Get sufficient sleep. Plus, consume moderate or no alcohol. And don’t smoke.
Which of these is your greatest challenge?
I’m cheering you on to your best health.
I’m Amy Hoogervorst, an integrative health coach, offering grace and space for a healthier you. Thanks for joining me for Step 18 in the “31 Steps to a Healthier You” series, part of #Write31Days 2017. You can read what the series is all about here and catch up on past posts. If you don’t want to miss a thing, subscribe to get each one in your inbox.