You can’t change your genes or much of your environment, but you can make lifestyle changes to improve your health. Being aware and intentional about your diet, activity, sleep, and smoking habits can reduce your health risks and potentially add years to your life.
ORDER WITH US AND GET FULL ASSIGNMENT HELP FOR THIS QUESTION AND ANY OTHER ASSIGNMENTS (PLAGIARISM FREE)
This article examines six lifestyle factors supported by the most evident regarding long-term health. It explains why they are important and how to start making positive changes.
1 Getting the Appropriate Amount of Sleep
Getty Images / Eva-Katalin / E+
The most important thing is to get enough sleep regularly. People often overlook it because they are preoccupied with diet and exercise, but research supports the link between sleep and life expectancy.
Some people are surprised to learn that the relationship follows a U-shaped curve. This means that both too little and too much sleep can shorten your life.
A 2021 study of 1.1 million people in Europe and the United States found that 25% of people slept less than what is recommended for their ages. More than half of all teens don’t get enough sleep. Adults do better but have more insomnia and poor sleep quality. 1
A good night’s sleep is important to recharge both the body and mind. It helps the body repair cells and gets rid of waste. It also is important in making memories, and sleep deprivation lead to forgetfulness.
Health issues can disrupt your plan even if you intend to sleep well. Sleep apnea, for example, can greatly increase health risks. 2
Sleep apnea affects millions of people, but it’s believed that many cases are being missed. Part of the reason is that symptoms like snoring or waking up gasping for air don’t happen in every case. Sleep apnea can present surprising signs and symptoms, such as teeth grinding and depression.
Talk to your healthcare provider about a sleep study if you have any concerns. There are treatments, like CPAP, that lower risk and improve quality of life. Changes in your sleep patterns can signal other health issues, too, so see your healthcare provider for a checkup if anything changes.
10 Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep \s2 \sEating Well-Balanced Meals
mature woman eating breakfast
Gary Houlder / Taxi / Getty Images
A healthy diet gives you energy and lowers your risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases. Some of these conditions have been linked to food and nutrition, as with red meat and colorectal cancer. 3
Taking steps toward a lifelong change in diet will help more than jumping on the latest fad diet does. You may have heard author Michael Pollan’s signature phrase: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Choose a rainbow of colors of those plants to ensure you get all the nutrients you need.
One place to begin is with the well-regarded Mediterranean diet. It’s rich in many of the healthiest foods and naturally limits less healthy choices. The more you follow the Mediterranean diet, the lower your risk of a host of diseases.
A 2018 review examined over 12 million people and the risk of over a dozen chronic diseases. The researchers found that people who chose a Mediterranean diet lowered their risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other diseases. 4
The Mediterranean diet has a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, “good” oils, and plenty of herbs and spices. It doesn’t have highly processed foods, refined grains, or added sugar.
Can the Mediterranean Diet Lower Your Cholesterol?
3 \sMaking Time for Physical Activity
mature woman exercising \svgajic / E+ / Getty Images
Thirty minutes a day of physical activity protects heart health. It also lowers bone loss as you age and, with it, the risk of osteoporosis. It’s so important that a 2021 study of colon cancer survivors found that living in a “green” community that is friendly for exercise reduced the risk of death. 5
A 2017 review in Lancet found that people participating in moderate physical activity every day had a lower risk of heart disease and overall mortality, no matter their income level.
Best of all, physical activity is a low-cost way to boost your health and save money. Sometimes your health may limit your exercise options, but you can keep moving by washing your windows, mowing your lawn, sweeping a sidewalk, and doing other basic tasks.
Once you are past age 65, you may benefit by adding balance and flexibility exercises, but keep moving too. Whether you dance, garden, swim, or go biking, choose a moderate-intensity exercise that you’ll enjoy.
Improve Balance With Otago Exercises \s4 \sKeeping a Healthy Body Weight \swoman's feet on scale
Shelly Strazis / UpperCut Images / Getty Images
Obesity is associated with a shorter lifespan and a higher risk of many diseases. The good news is that being overweight does not reduce your longevity. In fact, for those over age 65, it’s better to be on the high side of normal than the low side.
A 2018 study examined body mass index (BMI) and mortality over 24 years.
7 A BMI between 19 and 24 is considered “normal” or healthy. For those classified as obese, a BMI of 30 to 35 meant a 27% increase in mortality. A BMI of 35 to 40 was linked to a 93% increase.
Among those with a BMI in the overweight range (BMI 25 to 30), mortality was only higher among those who smoked. People with a BMI on the high side of normal (BMI 24, for example) had the lowest death risks.
BMI is a dated, flawed measure. It does not consider factors such as body composition, ethnicity, sex, race, and age.
Even though it is a biased measure, BMI is still widely used in the medical community because it’s an inexpensive and quick way to analyze a person’s potential health status and outcomes.
There is no real magic when it comes to keeping a healthy weight. Eating a nutritious diet and exercising daily are the true “secret” for most people. If you’re struggling, talk with your healthcare provider. But remember that fad diets don’t work, and your greatest hope for success is making long-term changes.
Study: BMI Measurements Should Be Tailored To Race and Ethnicity \s5 \sNot Smoking or Chewing Tobacco \sno smoking sign on table \sInstants / E+ / Getty Images
Smoking accounts for some 480,000 deaths per year in the United States alone.
8 Added to this are another 16 million people who are alive but coping with a smoking-related illness.
9 If you want the chance to live well for however long you live, don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
The list of diseases and cancers linked to smoking is long. If you’re finding it hard to quit and think illness comes only later in life, it may help to think of more short-term goals. Perhaps it’s too expensive, or indoor smoking bans limit your social outings.
Or maybe the midlife concerns will help you! Smoking speeds up the wrinkling of the skin. There’s also a link between smoking and erectile dysfunction in men. Quitting, or avoiding tobacco in the first place, will save lives and protect its quality.
Types of Smokeless Tobacco and Health Risks
6 \sLimiting or Avoiding Alcohol \sMature couple drinking wine on couch
Dean Mitchell / E+ / Getty Images
Despite the hype over red wine and longevity, alcohol should be used only in moderation, and for many people, not at all. Red wine has been found to offer some protective health effects, but there are other ways to get these benefits.
Red wine is rich in flavonoids, particularly nutrient resveratrol. However, resveratrol is also found in red grapes, red grape juice, and even peanuts.
Moderate alcohol consumption (one drink per day for women, two for men) may lower heart disease risk. Yet a link between alcohol and breast cancer suggests that even this amount should be used with caution.
Women who have three drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer, and the risk goes up another 10% for every additional drink they have daily.
Higher levels of alcohol can lead to health and other problems, including a greater risk for:11
High blood pressure
Moderate intake of alcohol may be part of a healthy lifestyle in special moments, as long as you have no personal or family problems with alcohol abuse. If everyone understands the risks, you may drink a toast to good healt
After reviewing Module 5: Lecture Materials & Resources, discuss the following;
How do family, friends, and community influence individual health and lifestyle? Identify at least 3 positive and 3 negative effects.
Your initial post should be at least 500 words, formatted and cited in current APA style with support from at least 2 academic sources.
Rector, C. & Stanley, M.J. (2022).
Chapter 16 – Global Public Health Nursing: Population Health Around the Globe
Chapter 17 – Being Prepared: Impact of Disaster, Terrorism, and War
Chapter 18 – Theoretical Basis for Promoting Family Health
Chapter 28 – Working with the Homeless
Supplemental Materials & Resources
Visit the CINAHL Complete under the A-to-Z Databases on the University Library’s website and locate the article below:
Bodden, D. H. M. & Dekovic, M. (2016). Multiproblem families referred to youth mental health: What’s in a name? Family Process, 55(1), 31-47. doi: 10.1111/famp.12144
Parenting EssentialsLinks to an external site.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, October 13). Essentials for parenting toddlers and preschoolers. https://www.cdc.gov/parents/essentials/resources/index.html
Grandparents Raising GrandchildrenLinks to an external site.
Smith, M., & Segal, J. (2020, November). Grandparents raising grandchildren. HelpGuide.org. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grandparenting/grandparents-as-parents.htm