As Americans gradually eat more and do less, their waist lines are expanding as their life expectancy reduces. Currently 34% of Americans are obese, with that figure expected to keep rising, reaching 42% in the next 15 years. And it’s not just about weight. Weight-related diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, some cancers are also on the up, as are other diseases caused primarily (but not always) by lifestyle, such as liver problems, cancer and lung problems.
With people’s lifestyles plummeting and illness soaring, it is time for us all to get healthy, to make small permanent changes to our lifestyles that will help us to be healthier and stick around for longer. There is no quick fix; weight loss surgery may help you to lose weight in the first place but serious lifestyle changes are needed to keep the weight off and stay healthy.
Now there is even more incentive to get healthy. New research shows that regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation, a balanced diet and eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure by two thirds. Scientists were shocked at how effective a healthy lifestyle was in reducing high blood pressure, and in some cases it was as good as blood pressure prescription drugs.
Researchers looked at nearly 20,000 people (11,430 women and 11,430 men) aged between 25 and 74, who didn’t have high blood pressure (hypertension). The healthiness of their lifestyle was recorded, including exercise (3 times a week or more), consumption of vegetables (daily) weight (normal) and alcohol consumption (6 units or less a week).
Over the next 16 years, 709 of the men and 890 of the women were diagnosed with high blood pressure.
The study concluded that people who adhered to all four of the lifestyle factors were 66% less likely to develop hypertension, in comparison with people who didn’t adhere to any of the factors.
Even fulfilling a couple of the healthy lifestyle factors reduced the risk of developing hypertension, with men meeting two of the criterion 50% less likely to develop the condition and women 30% less likely.
If you are worried about your lifestyle then try meeting the four lifestyle factors. You could aim to start with one of them for a month, for example, eating vegetables every day, then make it 2, then 3 until you feel fit and healthy, lose weight and reduce the risk of developing several conditions, including hypertension.
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