Made your New Year’s resolutions? Experts say that while many people start January with tough health goals, the key is to start small.

The American Medical Association has recommendations for health reform in 2023 and beyond that it says are “actually practical that people can actually accomplish and that will make a real difference in the nation’s health,” says Jack Resneck, AMA president. could.”

Increase Exercise, Manage Stress

A good diet, 7.5 hours of sleep a day, and activities like yoga and meditation can help you maintain and improve your mental health — but don’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional if you need it, the AMA recommends.

If you want to show up in better shape next year, the AMA recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week.

For those who prefer more vigorous workouts, it is recommended that they aim for at least 75 minutes of exercise each week.

limit processed foods, sugary drinks

Cut down on processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages, especially those with added sodium and sugar.

The AMA also recommends:

  • Eating less red and processed meat.
  • Eating more plant-based foods like olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
  • No drinking water and sugary drinks. Sweetened beverages, even 100% fruit juices, are associated with a higher all-cause mortality risk, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

get vaccinated

The AMA recommends staying current on vaccines such as annual flu shots and the COVID-19 vaccine for everyone six months of age or older, especially now that hospitals across the country are experiencing a “tripledemic” of increased COVID, flu, and RSV cases. are dealing with.

“This is a challenging time for hospitals, and we want as many patients as possible to avoid hospitalization,” Resneck said.

get a health checkup

Since April 2020, data has shown that millions of screenings to diagnose breast, colorectal and prostate cancers may have been missed due to pandemic-related disruptions in care.

“These cancers are harder to treat and more deadly if caught later,” Resneck said. “That’s why these screenings are important.”

The American Cancer Society’s 2022 findings show that the number of American women who have had recent breast cancer screening or cervical cancer screening declined by 6% and 11% in 2020, respectively, compared to 2018.

Know Your Blood Pressure Numbers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high blood pressure, or hypertension, affects 47% of adults in the United States.

Understanding the numbers and taking steps to lower blood pressure reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack. AMA recommends approaching the American Heart Association page online To learn more about managing blood pressure.

Know Your Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Self-checking for type 2 diabetes takes two minutes, according to the AMA, which recommends doing it yourself., The CDC reports that more than eight out of 10 adults living with prediabetes don’t know it.

Type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for serious COVID-19 outcomes, including hospitalization or death.

limit alcohol, don’t smoke

To reduce the risk of alcohol-related health problems, the 2020-2025 federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting alcohol intake to no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks for men .

AMA experts also recommend talking to a doctor about help quitting tobacco and e-cigarettes or vaping products.

follow doctor’s orders on prescription

For anyone taking prescription opioids, antibiotics, or other medications, the AMA recommends:

  • Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking them.
  • Securing pills to prevent diversion or misuse.
  • Properly getting rid of the remaining medicine.

“In the case of overdose, we are encouraging the safe storage and disposal of unused opioids so that we do not see diversion to people for whom the drugs were not prescribed,” Resneck said.

Antibiotic resistance is considered a serious public health problem, experts say, given that they won’t work against viruses like the cold or flu.

“People should make sure they finish a course of antibiotics that are prescribed so that we don’t advance antibiotic resistance,” Resneck said.


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