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Sep 05, 2012

Approaches to Improve Diet, Physical Activity, and Smoking Habits in the U.S.

Experts suggest that we can fight chronic disease in very simple ways.

Chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. In fact, 7 out of 10 deaths among Americans are from chronic diseases and almost 1 in 2 adults have at least one chronic illness - leaving many to wonder, how can we change this? Fortunately, preventing chronic disease is easier than we may think. With simple changes like eating better, exercising more and quitting smoking, we can drastically improve our health and reduce our risk for chronic disease. And here’s how experts from the American Heart Association think we can make the biggest impact in the fight against chronic disease in the country, based on their recent Scientific Statement:

First, we need to educate Americans about the importance of a healthy diet and make it more achievable. This means promoting health eating in the media, providing clearer nutrition labels and integrating healthy eating in schools and workplaces. It also means limiting advertisements for unhealthy foods in the media, especially those targeting children, and making healthy foods more affordable and accessible.

In combination with eating better, we also need to help America get moving. By promoting more physical activity in schools and workplaces and making our environments more conducive for exercise, we can help motivate children and adults to become more active.

Lastly, we need to take action to prevent individuals from starting smoking and provide support to help current smokers quit. We must continue to educate the public on the harmful effects of smoking and enforce restrictions that discourage smoking in public places, particularly in schools and workplaces. We also need to provide comprehensive programming that can help smokers quit – for good.

Together, taking these simple steps to improve diet and physical activity and reduce smoking could help prevent chronic diseases and improve the health of the United States. So keep an eye out for these upcoming changes that will help make living a healthier lifestyle, easier.

Questions for You to Consider

  • What are the most common chronic diseases?

  • Heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis are among the most common types of chronic disease in the United States. Fortunately, these diseases are preventable in many cases by making healthy lifestyle choices, like eating healthy and staying active.
  • What is chronic disease?

  • Chronic disease is an illness that has a long duration and is rarely cured completely. Chronic diseases often worsen slowly over time and can cause disability or death.

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