As you plan what to give up or take on in 2012, consider a resolution that could help you live a few years longer – and be happier doing it. The California Department of Public Health has a few suggestions:
1. Quit smoking. Who still smokes in California? Almost 4 million people, that’s who (says the CDC). If you’re one of them, you probably know the health risks, and you’ve felt the $2,000-a-year hit to your wallet. Consider calling 1-800-NO BUTTS or visiting NoButts.org for help quitting. People who love you will thank you.
2. Know your numbers. Keep track of your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight. If these numbers are in healthy range, you lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes and other health problems. If you’re overweight, losing just 5-7% of your body weight (10-14 pounds for a 200-pound person) can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and reduce your risk of developing knee osteoarthritis by 50%.
3. Eat to live. Make half your plate at each meal fruits and vegetables, eat more whole grains and fewer processed foods and sugary drinks. www.ChooseMyPlate.gov can help.
4. Get moving. Even if you can just fit in 10 minutes of moderate physical activity at a time, three times a day, you’ll help keep your bones, muscles and joints healthy, imrove your heart health and reduce stress. Check out the CDC Physical Activity for Everyone guidelines for ideas.
5. See your doctor. Protect your health by getting vaccinated against flu, whooping cough and other dangerous diseases, and get screenings for colon (everyone), and cervical and breast cancer (women).
6. Be prepared. From earthquakes to wildfires, mudslides to windstorms, our state has disasters for all seasons. Keep your supplies stocked and have a plan for communicating during a crisis. Get more info here.
And if you slip a little after the first week or so, don’t give up. Good health is worth working at all year.