The Healthy Lifestyles program seeks to address weight-related health problems for children by offering caring providers, family-centered treatment programs, highly trained educators and researchers, and strong community partnerships. See how you measure up. Try out at home the psychological and aptitude tests, the instant weight calculators and lots more. Find out how healthy you really are with just a click of the mouse. Teenagers should get between eight and ten hours of sleep each night to be healthy. Quitting smoking is perhaps the single most important thing you can do for your health—and your life span. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that women who quit smoking by age 35 add roughly six to eight years to their lives.
Calories accompany the nutrition in foods, and if you don’t expend them all, you’ll gain weight. Carrying extra weight increases your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Your lifestyle should support a constant healthy weight, so remain active daily. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services outlined the Physical Fitness Guidelines for Americans, and these guidelines focus on muscle strengthening exercise, such as weight lifting, along with aerobic exercise, such as walking or running. The guidelines suggest working toward completing 150 hours of exercise a week, but inactive adults should build to this gradually under the supervision of their doctor. You should also include exercise, such as yoga to improve flexibility.
The Heart Foundation community-based walking groups are free and led by volunteers, to help people stay active and take better care of their heart health. There is a group to suit everyone, including people over 50 years old, parents with children, workplaces and cultural groups. To find the nearest local walking group and to register online visit the Heart Foundation website.
Becoming more active is key to combatting obesity and to keeping healthy in general. Encourage your children to take up extracurricular activities that involve exercise: go swimming in summer, take up a sport or go to a dance class. Make family outings healthy too: why not organise a trip to the beach or the park. And here’s another idea: start going on a family walk after dinner instead of flopping in front of television. The key is also in your diet and eating habits: cut out junk and sugary food and avoid eating in front of the TV.
The trends presented in this chapter cover a relatively short time period. Consistent data for healthy life expectancy is only available for the period 2000 to 2002 to 2012 to 2014; just over 10 years. A short time frame limits the strength of any conclusions that can be made as indicators giving a summary picture of population health tend to show small changes over a single decade.