ThedaCare Health Matters

Make good health choices in the new year

As the New Year approaches, tradition dictates we take a moment to make resolutions. Interestingly, it seems that many times these resolutions focus on ways to improve our health. Despite all the technological advances in health care, health is still greatly impacted by our lifestyle and the choices we make.

Healthcare experts often talk about how certain choices we make are linked to premature death or pre-ventable deaths. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control reports that as many as 40 percent of deaths are premature or preventable.

Heart disease, some can-cers, stroke, lung disease, infections and unintentional injuries are the leading causes of premature and preventable death. It is felt that these problems are greatly influenced by lifestyle and health related choices. There are several lifestyle changes that can be implemented as New Year resolutions that can improve a person’s chances of living longer and healthier.

Smoking and tobacco use remains the No. 1 risk factor for heart disease, stroke, lung disease and certain cancers. If you smoke, quitting is the best resolution you can make. Healthy eating is another resolution that can greatly improve health. Diet is related to diabetes and obesity and these factors are related to heart disease and even some cancers. 

Some specific ways to improve the diet would be to eat 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily, cut back on processed meats, such as bacon, sausage and hot dogs, decrease sweets, decrease foods with simple sugars and increase whole grains. Even concentrating on just one of these suggestions can be helpful.

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