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The Age of Good Health? Healthy Lifestyles on Decline in U.S.
Date:5/26/2009

MUSC researchers urge people, especially the middle-aged, to adopt healthier lifestyles

CHARLESTON, S.C., May 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite the well-known benefits of physical activity, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, moderate alcohol use and not smoking, only a small proportion of adults follow this healthy lifestyle pattern, and in fact, the numbers are declining, according to a study by Dana King, M.D., and colleagues at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The article discussing this research is available in the June 2009 issue of The American Journal of Medicine. Lifestyle choices are associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as diabetes.

King and additional researchers from the MUSC Department of Family Medicine compared the results of two large-scale studies of the US population in 1988-1994 and in 2001-2006. In the intervening 18 years, the number of people adhering to all five healthy habits has decreased from 15 percent to 8 percent. In addition:

  • the percentage of adults aged 40-74 years with a body mass index greater than 30 has increased from 28% to 36%;
  • physical activity 12 times a month or more has decreased from 53% to 43%;
  • eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables a day has decreased from 42% to 26%;
  • moderate alcohol use has increased from 40% to 51%.
  • smoking rates have not changed (26.9% to 26.1%);

"The potential public health benefits from promoting a healthier lifestyle at all ages, and especially ages 40-74 years, are substantial," King said. "Regular physical activity and a prudent diet can reduce the risk of premature death and disability from a variety of conditions including coronary heart disease, and are strongly related to the incidence of obesity. In the U
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SOURCE Medical University of South Carolina
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