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AMA: Resolutions for a Healthy New You in the New Year

CHICAGO, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The holiday season is a great opportunity to relax, spend time with family, reflect on the past year, and focus on new goals for the next 12 months. These top resolutions, offered by the American Medical Association (AMA), arm people with the knowledge to become a healthy new you in 2008.

"Creating and sticking to a new year's resolution to get healthier is the best gift you can give yourself this holiday season," said AMA President, Ron Davis, MD. "Talk to your physician about your health care plan and what you can do to ensure you remain healthy in 2008 and for many years to come."

Top ten resolutions for a healthy new you in the new year:

1. Eliminate trans fat from diet: Research shows that eating foods high in trans fats raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of coronary artery disease. Replacing trans fats with healthier fats and oils, such as extra virgin olive oil, can prevent approximately 30,000 to 100,000 premature deaths a year.

2. Get more exercise: Increasing physical activity to at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week can drastically improve overall health and lower the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity.

3. Quit smoking: Smoking, and being exposed to secondhand smoke, is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. When smokers quit, within just twenty minutes of smoking that last cigarette the body begins a series of changes to combat the damage cigarettes cause. Need help quitting? Consider talking to a physician about a smoking cessation program.

4. Keep heart healthy: Heart disease is the number one cause of death in this country. Having cholesterol levels and blood pressure checked regularly by a physician can reduce the chances of heart disease and stroke. People who have a higher risk of heart disease may benefit from taking low-dose aspirin; ask your doctor if this applies to you.

5. Stay away from excess salt: A diet high in sodium increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Limit salt intake to one teaspoon per day, or half a teaspoon if over 50, to help lower blood pressure and decrease the chances of getting heart disease or having a stroke.

6. Get a flu shot: Getting an annual flu vaccination is the single best way to protect against the virus. With flu season lasting into the spring, vaccination in January or February is still effective and will have significant medical benefit.

7. Screen for cancer: Early detection is often the key to beating cancer. Women over 40 need to schedule an annual mammogram to screen for breast cancer. All patients over 50 years of age should talk to a physician about a colonoscopy to improve the chances of early detection of colon cancer.

8. Protect skin from the sun: Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day and be sure to increase it to 30 or higher if exposed to the sun for a prolonged period. See a physician every year for a professional skin exam to detect early signs of skin cancer.

9. Vote with the uninsured in mind: The uninsured tend to live sicker and die younger than those with health insurance. In this time of giving to others, be sure to vote in the 2008 election with the 47 million uninsured Americans in mind.

10. Talk to a physician: Many people only see a physician when ill and often overlook the fact that they are great resources for information on losing weight, reducing stress, quitting smoking and other issues that may affect overall health. Feel free to contact a physician with health concerns or questions; he or she can help you achieve your health goals.

"Making even small changes to your lifestyle can help you look and feel great all year," said Dr. Davis. "Eating right and exercising are two resolutions that can improve your overall health and reduce your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, stroke, and osteoporosis."

SOURCE American Medical Association
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