With the new year quickly approaching, the American Medical Association (AMA) is offering 10 recommendations to help Americans make the most impactful, long-lasting improvements to their health in 2019.
"This is the perfect time of year for each of us to consider our personal goals, and how we can make positive health choices in the coming year," said AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, MD. "We encourage everyone to prioritize their long-term health by making small lifestyle changes now that can have a lasting effect in improving their health."
The AMA's 10 recommendations for a healthier new year, include the following:
- Learn your risk for type 2 diabetes -- take the self-screening test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. Steps you take now can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
- Be more physically active -- adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity.
- Know your blood pressure numbers -- visit LowerYourHBP.org to better understand your numbers and take necessary steps to get your high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, under control. Doing so will reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.
- Reduce your intake of processed foods, especially those with added sodium and sugar -- also reduce your consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and drink more water instead.
- If a health care professional determines that you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed -- antibiotic resistance is a serious public health problem and antibiotics will not make you feel better if you have a virus, such as a cold or flu.
- If consuming alcohol, do so in moderation as defined by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans -- up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men, and only by adults of legal drinking age.
- Talk with your doctor about tobacco and nicotine use and quit -- declare your home and car smoke-free to eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Pain medication is personal -- if you are taking prescription opioids, follow your doctor's instructions, store them safely to prevent diversion or misuse, and properly dispose of any leftover medication.
- Make sure your family is up-to-date on their vaccines -- this includes getting the annual influenza vaccine for everyone age six months or older.
- Manage stress -- a good diet and daily exercise are key ingredients to maintaining and improving your mental health, but don't hesitate to ask for help from a friend or mental health professional when you need it.
The AMA is committed to improving the health of the nation and will continue to further our efforts aimed at reducing the burden of preventable diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes to ensure patients live richer and fuller lives. Our best wishes to all for a happy and healthy new year!