Each year, Americans’ most popular New Year’s resolutions are more or less the same: get healthy, get organised, save money. But doctors at the American Medical Association (AMA) have some more specific thoughts in mind for 2019.
The AMA this week released a list of 10 wellness-focused resolutions that could “help Americans make the most impactful, long-lasting improvements to their health in 2019.” Here’s what they are — and how to make them happen.
Learn your risk for type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the U.S., affecting an estimated 30 million Americans. But as of the CDC’s last estimate, almost a quarter of Americans who have type-2 diabetes are undiagnosed, meaning they’re not getting the care they need — and even more people may have prediabetes without knowing it. The AMA recommends taking a self-screening test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org to find out if you’re at risk.
Be more physically active
Most people do not meet the federal guidelines for physical activity, which say that adults should get 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week, plus twice-weekly muscle-strengthening sessions. The good news, however, is it’s easier to meet that goal than you might think. Everyday activities like walking, cleaning, dancing and taking the stairs all count toward your total, so there’s no need to slog it out at the gym if you dread it.
Know your blood pressure
High blood pressure is associated with a heightened risk of stroke and heart disease, so it’s important to know your blood pressure reading. The AMA recommends visiting LowerYourHBP.org to learn how to manage your blood pressure through strategies including diet, exercise and stress relief.
Eat less processed food
Eating lots of highly processed foods, which tend to be packed with sugar, salt, fat and chemicals, is associated with health problems ranging from weight gain to type 2 diabetes and cancer. Swapping soda and sugar-sweetened beverages for water is a good place to start, the AMA says. Cooking at home and building meals around produce and plant-based proteins are also good strategies.
Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed
Taking antibiotics unnecessarily, or stopping a course early, can cause your body to build up a tolerance to the drugs. That’s a major public health concern, since widespread antibiotic resistance is already contributing to issues like drug-resistant infections and treatment-resistant sexually transmitted diseases. Follow doctor’s orders, and keep in mind that antibiotics do not work against viruses. Read more