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Lifestyle Related Risk Factors

Posted Jun 12 2009 5:04pm

Today is Fitness Friday. Our host is Sandy of God Speaks Today. You can link there to join in or link to other participating blogs with fitness posts.

Have you heard of The Dirty Dozen? Now before you say that The Dirty Dozen is an old movie starring Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin, let me stop you to say ...that's not what I'm writing about today.

After all, it's Fitness Friday and I want to remain on topic.


But have you ever considered how likely you are to die of a lifestyle related risk factor?

My hubby and I had the opportunity to spend a month at the Pritikin Center several years ago. This was when they were located in a beautiful beach hotel in Santa Monica close to the famous pier. Not a shabby place to get healthy, I can tell you.I continue to receive a monthly newsletter with many of the latest studies on health and wellness.

In the June 2009 newsletter, they shared the findings of a new study and the authors come from several institutions that include the Harvard School of Public Health, the University of Washington, and the University of Toronto. They analyzed nationally representative data.

Their conclusion was that ...more than one million Americans die annually from 12 lifestyle-related risk factors.

They call them The Dirty Dozen. Listen guys, these are risk factors over which we have control.

According to Daniel Akst in a May 15, 2009 commentary on this study in Th e Wall Street Journal,"Too many of us appear to be bent on slow-motion suicide."

So here they are "The Dirty Dozen":
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Inadequate physical activity and inactivity
  • High blood glucose
  • High LDL cholesterol
  • High dietary salt
  • Low dietary omega-3 fatty acids from seafood
  • High dietary trans fat
  • Alcohol use
  • Low fruit and vegetable intake
  • Low dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids

The reason this study was conducted was to bring attention to the importance of lifestyle changes. They wanted to bring this information to the current healthcare discussions going on in Washington DC.

With the food industry promoting unhealthy food and mega-meals being served at restaurants, children today are becoming increasingly overweight and even obese. Now, I'm not crazy about government intervention and more regulations but that might be coming.

In the meantime, what can you do?

  • Start by teaching your children about healthy eating
  • Practice what you preach
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Provide healthy snacks
  • Walk, walk and walk
  • Eat smaller portions
  • Limit your eating out
  • Drink lots of water
  • Get physical; encourage your children to release some of their energy through sports or simply running outside
  • Don't smoke

This really hit home for me yesterday when I got a phone call from my brother Steve telling me that a good friend of ours died suddenly.

I've known Matt since I was 16 years old and he and my brother have continued their friendship over the years. They both entered the Navy together, they share the same birthday July 10th and they're the same age. Matt would have turned 58 next month. It's much too young to die. He died in his sleep when his wife checked on him since it was later than normal. Very sad news!

So, let's get serious about these lifestyle risk factors. Yes, we'll all die one day. That's a fact. But in the meantime, we can be stewards of our bodies and do our part. What are you doing to positively impact your health?

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