What About You?

Do you know that two-thirds of our health status is determined by the choices we make? This is according to a study published in 2006 by the Institute of Medicine, entitled:  Genes, Behavior, and the Social Environment:  Moving Beyond the Nature/Nurture Debate.

Despite the increased emphasis on health, fitness and nutrition in this country in recent years, it seems that many still struggle with maintaining a healthy weight and a fit lifestyle.   While we have lots of knowledge about what it takes to be well, it would seem that implementing the information doesn’t always come easily.

In an article, Patterns of health behavior in U.S. adults, published in Preventive Medicine (May2003) by David Berrigan, Ph.D., et al,  it was noted that only one in twenty adults engage in the 5 top health behaviors.  What are they?

  • Don’t Smoke
  • Regular exercise
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a healthy diet with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation (included because of the preventable deaths related to alcohol)

Sounds simple, right?  Then why does it seem to be so difficult for so many?  There are probably lots of answers to that question.  I know that a recurring theme I seem to encounter in speaking with people seems to be difficulty in finding time to fit in exercise, eat healthy, attend to family and work responsibilities, and find some personal time in the mix.  This is especially true for working professionals with school-age children (of which I am one.)  I am not going to pretend to have any easy answers or quick fixes, but I do have a couple thoughts.  One is that we each, as individuals, have to take personal responsibility for our health and well-being and make it a priority.   Let’s face it – if we end up sick, for the short or long-term, everything else in our lives is going to suffer to some degree.  It behooves us to be in good physical shape, so that we can be fully engaged in those other important areas of life. 

My other thought is that it is important for each of us to develop a personal lifestyle, a wellness plan that is tailored to us individually, so that it is easily incorporated into our daily life and is sustainable over time.   The last point is key – it’s often easier to make changes than to maintain those changes so that they are lasting, and become a part of our lifestyle.

What about you?  Of the top five health behaviors, how many are a part of your life consistently? If you can claim all five, you’re a star! And if you can’t, that’s ok, too….. You have read this far, and that means this is important to you, you aren’t taking your health for granted.  Is there one that you have been thinking about incorporating into your life?  Making a choice to incorporate even one of these into your life can have an enormous impact on how you feel, now and in the future. I hope you give it some thought.   If you care to, let me know how it goes.   I love hearing from you and am here to support you in any way I can!

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