A healthy lifestyle can be fairly accurately assessed by looking at four simple measures:
1. A moderate amount of exercise
2. Eating a healthy diet
3. Not smoking
4. Keeping body fat in the healthy range
A recent study of 4,700 people who took part in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Survey made the alarming finding that only 2.7% of those Americans met all four healthy lifestyle criteria. These measures are nothing new. They are common sense, widely accepted practices for good health. It is well established that following these simple health guidelines can reduce the risk of many lifestyle caused diseases, including diabetes 2, heart disease and cancer.
Nor are these healthy lifestyle measures onerous. In fact these Mayo Clinic standards set a fairly low bar. In terms of physical activity, all that is required is 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity, while a healthy diet consists of following the USDA guidelines of a 2,000 calorie diet, which typically includes 6 ounces of grains, 2 1/2 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of dairy, and 5 1/2 ounces of protein per day.
Ellen Smit, a lead author of the study, who conducted the survey for Oregon State University, described the results as “disappointing”. “This is pretty low, to have so few people maintaining what we would consider a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “This is sort of mind boggling. There’s clearly a lot of room for improvement.”
Click here to read the full article about the failure of the vast majority of Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle.