You've resolved to live a healthier lifestyle in 2013. But where do you start?
The American Medical Association (AMA) has some advice on the most important resolutions to make — and keep — for a healthy New Year.
"The start of another new year provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and look ahead to changes we can make today to improve our health tomorrow," said AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus. "It is important that we develop healthy lifestyles and behaviors that we can carry with us throughout our lives."
The AMA offers these resolutions for 2013:
This is the leading preventable cause of death — as well as exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS). The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that there is no risk-free level of exposure to SHS, and the California Environmental Protection Agency estimates that SHS kills 50,000 Americans each year.
Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables
As recommend by the USDA Food Guide Pyramid, eat about two cups of fruit and two to three cups of vegetables daily to reduce your risk of developing heart disease, cancer, stroke and high blood pressure.
Cut Back on Salt
Limit your salt intake to one teaspoon per day (if you are 50 years of age or older, cut back to about half a teaspoon per day) to help lower blood pressure and decrease your chances of getting heart disease or having a stroke.
in Your Diet
Eat a diet low in fat, saturated fat, and trans fats to reduce cholesterol levels and the risk of developing heart disease.
Have your blood cholesterol checked regularly by your doctor and keep your cholesterol level under 200 mg/dl to reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Reduce Amount of Soda You Drink
Per capita, soft-drink consumption has increased by almost 500 percent over the past 50 years. Limit your consumption of regular soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks to help you avoid weight gain and obesity, and to also decrease tooth decay.
Have your blood pressure checked regularly by your doctor to help reduce your chances of heart attack or stroke.
If you have high blood pressure, make sure that you keep your blood pressure under 140/90.
Get a Colonoscopy
If you are 50 or older, ask your doctor about getting a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer to improve your chances of early detection.
If you are a woman 40 years or older, get a mammogram every one to two years to help detect breast cancer early and if diagnosed, improve your chances for survival.
Protect Your Skin from the Sun
Use sunblock (with an SPF of at least 30) or protective clothing when you're in sunlight for a prolonged period.
If you frequently get a suntan or sunburn, have your doctor check your skin regularly to detect early signs of skin cancer.
"These resolutions are just a few of the things you can do to make positive, healthy lifestyle changes. In 2013, continue to look to the AMA for a wide range of health information and continue to turn to your physician for the highest quality of care for you and your family," Lazarus said.