Less Than 3 Percent Of Americans Live A ‘Healthy Lifestyle’

Healthy LifeThe 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. Kate Lorig, RN, DrPH, is a director and associate professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine’s Patient Education Research Center. She lives in Mountain View, California. Halsted Holman, MD, is professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. He lives in Stanford, California. David Sobel, MD, is the director of patient education and health promotion at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Northern California. He lives in San Jose, California. Diana Laurent, MPH, is a health educator at the Stanford University School of Medicine’s Patient Education Research Center. She lives in Palo Alto, California. Virginia Gonzalez, MPH, is a health educator at the Stanford University School of Medicine’s Patient Education Research Center. She lives in San Jose, California. Marion Minor, PT, PhD, is an assistant professor at the University of Missouri in the department of physical therapy. She lives in Columbia, Missouri.

Your cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, immune and other body systems depend on a continual supply of nutrients to feed cell growth and metabolism. To get the dozens of essential forms of protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals and fats, you need to eat a varied diet. According to the guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, your diet should contain mostly whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Consume lean meats such as chicken and turkey, along with legumes, eggs and healthy nuts. Limit your portion sizes at meals to control your weight and your risk for cardiovascular and other diseases through your lifestyle.

EHLEIS monitored and explored gender gaps and inequalities in health expectancies between EU MS, specifically identifying explanatory factors for convergent or divergent trends. Through the continued updating of an online information system of health and life expectancy, a training workshop and a conference for policy makers demonstrating best practice, EHLEIS aimed at ensuring that the EU and its Member States maximally utilise the Eurostat Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) and the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS), alongside national data, to compute HLY and monitor population health with both harmonised data and methods.

But overall, meeting more of these qualifications was associated with having fewer risk factors for cardiovascular disease—things like high cholesterol, high white blood cell counts, and high blood pressure. The researchers looked at 13 such biomarkers in total. Being active and having a healthy body-fat percentage were associated with favorable outcomes in nine and 10 of the biomarkers, respectively, while not smoking and eating well were associated with just two and one.

HLY is a functional health status measure that is increasingly used to complement the conventional life expectancy measures. The HLY measure was developed to reflect the fact that not all years of a person’s life are typically lived in perfect health. Chronic disease, frailty, and disability tend to become more prevalent at older ages, so that a population with a higher life expectancy may not be healthier. Indeed, a major question with an aging population is whether increases in life expectancy will be associated with a greater or lesser proportion of the future population spending their years living with disability. If HLY is increasing more rapidly than life expectancy in a population, then not only are people living longer, they are also living a greater portion of their lives free of disability.