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Adherence to Healthy Lifestyles Declining in the U.S.

Posted May 27 2009 11:36pm

            The benefits of following a healthy lifestyle have been proven to decrease the incidence of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.  For some reason less adults in the United States are adopting heart healthy lifestyles.  This data was reported in a recent article published in The American Journal of Medicine (June 2009).  Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina compared the results of two large studies of adults aged 40 to 74 years of age from 1988 to 1994 to adults from 2001 to 2006.  The number of adults adhering to five healthy habits (maintaining a healthy weight, regular physical activity, eating at least 5 fruits/vegetables every day, moderate alcohol consumption, and smoking cessation) decreased from 15% to 8% during the 18 year time frame studied.

             The percentage of adults who were overweight increased from 28% in 1994 to 36% in 2006.

            The percentage of adults eating 5 or more fruits/vegetables daily decreased from 42% in 1994 to 26% in 2006.

            The percentage of adults exercising on a regular basis decreased from 53% in 1994 to 43% in 2006.

            The percentage of adults consuming moderate amounts of alcohol increased from 40% in 1994 to 51% in 2006.

            Smoking cessation rates did not change.

             Adults with known heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol were no more likely to adhere to healthy lifestyle patterns.  So even though the research proves the benefits of developing heart healthy habits adults are not listening??? We need to spread the word – even small changes in diet, exercise and weight loss can improve our health.  

 “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” discusses how to incorporate small heart healthy changes into our daily routine.  Visit www.heart-strong.com for more information.

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