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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in four Americans is considered obese and almost half do nothing physicall during their leisure hours. Even more alarming, one in five children aged four or younger is obese, sending them into adulthood plagued by diverse health problems.
Whatever your age, taking action today to improve your health can have immediate and far-reaching physical and emotional benefits. What should you do? Find out by following these smart steps.
Take a proactive role in your
Protect your skin from the sun
During summer and winter, it is essential that you prevent your skin from sunburn and from the damage that UVA and UVC rays can do. Use a sunscreen daily with an SPF of at least 15.
Talk to your doctor about support groups and quit-smoking products. Reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke from the first day you quit.
Take care of your teeth and gums
Gum disease may contribute to heart disease and other health problems. Have your teeth cleaned regularly, and work with your dentist to prevent and/or manage any periodontal problems.
Watch your weight
Being overweight may put you at immediate risk for a roster of problems, from bad knees to a bad heart to diabetes, cancer and gastrointestinal problems. To lose weight, try reducing your calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 calories a day. You can boost your weight loss by increasing the amount of time you exercise to 60 minutes a day without increasing your calorie intake. Consult your doctor before beginning any weight loss or exercise program.
Other tips include: drinking in moderation, reducing stress and getting both a regular flu shot and a pneumonia vaccine.
Check your body mass index (BMI), a measure of your body fat based on your height and weight. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a BMI calculator at: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/.
Check your cholesterol starting at age 35. You may want to start earlier (if your doctor advises) if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or if you smoke or have just recently quit smoking.
Have your blood pressure checked at least every 2 years more often if you have diabetes, kidney disease or heart disease.
Have a colonoscopy to check for polyps (precancerous growths) and/or colon cancer starting at age 50. Those with a family history of colon cancer may need to be screened earlier.
Have a glucose tolerance test and check your blood glucose levels at age 50; do so earlier and regularly if you are told your are insulin-resistant, have high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, a family history of diabetes, kidney disease or high blood pressure.
Men between the ages of 65 and 75 who have ever smoked (100 or more cigarettes during their lifetimes) should be screened for abdominal aortic aneurysms, which are abnormally large or swollen blood vessels in the abdomen.
These tips are not a substitute for medical advice.
Make good choices
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends the following dietary guidelines for Americans:
Good nutrition starts with wise decisions
If you take in 2,000 calories a day, you should eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables; adjust amounts higher or lower depending on your calorie intake.
Every week, try to eat:
3 cups of dark green vegetables
2 cups of orange vegetables
3 cups of legumes/beans
3 cups of starchy vegetables such as potatoes or squash
6½ cups of other vegetables
You should eat the equivalent of 3 or more ounces of whole-grain products a day. At least half the grains you eat should be whole grains (e.g., whole wheat, brown rice, buckwheat, popcorn etc.).
Consume 3 cups a day of fat-free or low-fat milk, or the equivalent of milk-based products such as cheese or yogurt.
Consult your doctor before beginning any weight loss
or exercise program.
Control your weight
Most days during the week, do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity, but don't overeat as a result. If weight loss is your goal, keep control of calories while increasing activities. If you lose weight, you may need 60 to 90 minutes of activity most days to keep it off.
Your physical activities should include cardiovascular conditioning, stretching, strength-building and resistance exercises.
Content on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional.
Sears Holdings Corporation makes no representation or warranties, expressed or implied, nor claims responsibility for the results obtained from the use of such information.