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Americans Score Low on Healthy Lifestyle
Date:5/27/2009

Too many rely on drugs to fix what healthy living would cure, researcher says,,,,

WEDNESDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- The benefits of eating right, exercising and keeping your weight down are well-known, but few Americans are living that healthy lifestyle, researchers report.

In fact, over the past two decades exercise rates have dropped, fruit and vegetable intake has also fallen, and in the meantime obesity rates have soared, a new study finds.

"This is somewhat of a report card on how we are doing on healthy lifestyles compared to 18 years ago," said lead researcher Dr. Dana E. King, a professor in the department of family medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. "The results are about a C minus."

There is no mystery behind the increasing rates of diabetes and high blood pressure since they are directly related to healthy habits, the researchers said. But it's never too late to change -- by living a healthy lifestyle you can produce profound effects on your overall health and even extend your life, they added.

King believes that Americans rely too much on drugs - not diet and exercise -- to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and prevent diabetes and heart disease.

"I wonder if we have become a little bit of a 'take a pill' society," he said. "'Take a pill and I can eat what I want.' The fact is no pills are as potent and as powerful as a healthy lifestyle," he said.

The report is published in the June issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

For the study, King's team collected data on more than 15,000 people aged 40 to 74. Among these people, 7,340 had participated in the 1988 to 1994 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and 7,811 participated in the same survey for the years 2001 to 2006 .

In the 18 years between the studies, the percent of obese people had increased from 28 percent to 36 percent. The number of people who e
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