Young at Heart, But Still at Risk
Baby boomers and health
Active baby boomers who dread "getting old" can follow some simple lifestyle steps.
"As we age, our health risks increase," says Dr. Lawrence Chan, professor of medicine and molecular and cellular biology and chief of the division of diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism at BCM. "Today's baby boomers can lower their risks of illness associated with aging by adopting a healthier lifestyle."
The American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association recently announced four guidelines that can reduce the risks of developing cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Be active
- Don't smoke
- See a physician
"I recommend a balanced diet that is low in simple sugars and high in fiber. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise, five days a week has also proven to lower the risk of developing diabetes," says Chan, the Houston spokesman for the American Diabetes Association.
Chan encourages baby boomers to attain their ideal body weight, but warns that a trim exterior doesn't always signify first-rate health. Regular visits to a physician are necessary to evaluate individual health risks.
The risk factors of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke overlap, so decreasing the risk of one disease will essentially decrease the risks of others, says Chan.