The continuing rise of lifestyle-related diseases and chronic disorders means that we need to take a fresh look at health and healthcare, and to remember that prevention is better than cure. ‘Healthy living’ means making changes to your life to develop new habits that improve your health in all these ways. The trend in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy at age 65 has also been upwards in recent decades. Once they reach the age of 65, in 2012 to 2014, males could expect to live an additional 18.8 years and females an additional 21.2 years.
Healthy sleeping, eating, and physical activity habits do not have to be complicated, depriving, or uncomfortable, and can make a big difference in the way you feel. Many people have found that simple changes, such as eliminating caffeine or taking walks regularly, have helped stabilize their moods. Though symptoms of your mood disorder may disrupt sleeping, eating, or physical activity, making things as consistent as possible, especially sleeping, can help keep your symptoms from worsening. Regular habits can also help you spot the beginning of a manic or depressive episode more quickly.
Get to know your local market – not only because the food is fresh, varied and cheap (especially just before closing), but also because it’s an enjoyable and friendly way to shop and meet people. If near enough, walk there with a shopping trolley, so you get some exercise and fresh air too. For example, if you feel drowsy in the mornings, arrange to exercise in the afternoon. If you regularly crave sweet foods, keep fresh fruit or fruit snacks around the house instead of biscuits.
The idea for the development of a measure of “health expectancy” (the partitioning of the demographic measure of life expectancy into healthy and non-healthy years of life) originated with a report published in 1969 by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The report noted that both good health and long life are fundamental objectives of human activity, but that despite the substantial rise in life expectancy in the 20th century the overall health status of the population was unknown. In fact, it was recognized that accompanying the rise in life expectancy was the emergence of chronic diseases – thus raising concerns about the future health status of the population if death rates continued to decline.
There is also likely to be a bias arising from the way respondents are selected to take part in the survey. The data are based on surveys that are not able to select people for interview who are living in institutional accommodation (for example, care homes). This may lead to an underestimate of the level of poor health.