Older Adults Urged To Live Healthier Lifestyle
If you haven't made plans for a healthier lifestyle this year, a good time to start is during National Nutrition Month in March. Studies show that about 40 percent of deaths in the nation can be attributed to smoking, poor diet, lack of physical activity, or misuse of alcohol. And that only about 25% of older Americans do at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity, although being active reduces the risk of dying of coronary heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. Physical activity also helps control weight, relieves pain from arthritis, promotes healthy bones, muscles, and joints, and reduces falls in older adults.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2004 the five leading causes of death for women aged 65 and older were heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and Alzheimer's disease. The leading causes of death for older men were heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke and diabetes. So the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Aging Services (DAS) is urging older adults to eat a healthy diet, be physically active, get regular checkups, avoid tobacco use, and be positive about making healthy lifestyle changes.
"We urge older adults to eat more nutritious foods, to consult with their healthcare providers about including more physical activities in their lives, to get regular checkups and screenings, and to avoid smoking," said Maria Greene, director of DAS.
Healthy eating can help a person avoid some of the risks associated with chronic diseases. Foods like fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat, and provide fiber and nutrients that are valuable to maintaining good health. People should choose a variety of dark green and orange vegetables and beans. Whole-grains or pasta should also be in your daily meals, and individuals should choose lean meats and poultry that are either baked, boiled or grilled.