4 Steps to a Healthy Lifestyle
Test yourself: How do your habits measure up?
By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
Think you're leading a healthy lifestyle? Aside from occasionally veering off the path, most of us think we do a fair job of maintaining our health with good (or at least OK) eating habits and physical activity whenever we manage to fit it in. But is that enough to be considered "healthy?"
According to a recent study, very few adults actually meet the criteria for a healthy lifestyle. The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that only 3% of American adults got a perfect score on what the authors say are the four basic criteria for healthy living. Just 13.8% met three of the criteria; 34.2% met only two criteria. Women scored slightly better than men.
See how well you measure up on the researchers' four keys to healthfulness:
The good news is that these behaviors should not be foreign to you, as all but one are an integral part of the Weight Loss Clinic. Numbers 2 through 4 are the foundation of the WLC program, habits that we continually discuss, write about, and recommend.
Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health. If you are one of the lucky ones who never became addicted to nicotine, pat yourself on the back. Smokers, I hope you are working diligently to kick your habit. It's impossible to underestimate the importance of a smoke-free life for your health -- as well as for the sake of those around you.
4 Steps and More
While those four habits are indisputably important for a healthy lifestyle, some may argue that more factors should be taken into consideration. What would be on your list?
Just for fun, I came up with my own personal top 10 list of healthy behaviors (beyond the four basics) that contribute to wellness and satisfaction with one's lifestyle:
It's All about You
Your list of healthy lifestyle behaviors may be different from mine. The most important thing to remember is that you can make a difference in your health and well-being. Take charge of your life, and be mindful of small behavior changes that can make your lifestyle a healthier one.
Published Aug. 5, 2005.
SOURCES: Archives of Internal Medicine, April 25, 2005.
©2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.
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