American Health Month in February serves as an annual reminder to take stock of your heart health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, heart disease, stroke and chronic lower respiratory disease are among the five major causes of death in the United States. While heredity may affect one's risk for these diseases, health behaviors such as smoking, obesity, alcohol abuse and lack of physical activity play a large role in your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County offers these tips to improve your quality of life:
• If you use tobacco products, quit. Tobacco use is the single largest cause of preventable premature death in the nation. The DOH-Pinellas Tobacco Prevention Program offers information and resources that include the Florida Quitline's services. Call 877-U-CAN-NOW (822-6669) for information.
• Move more, sit less. If you are carrying too many pounds, even a modest weight loss can have a positive impact on your overall health. Healthy weight can also impact your energy levels, sleep habits, self-esteem, psychological health and health care costs. The Florida Department of Health's Healthiest Weight initiative provides resources to help you be more active.
• Choose healthy meal options. Healthy eating is important for all age levels. Starting with breastfeeding for infants, a lifetime of choosing nutrient-dense food and beverages will contribute to lowering risk factors for many chronic diseases and conditions. For information on menus, meal plans and healthy eating on a budget visit www.choosemyplate.gov, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's nutrition site.
• Track your numbers. Visit your health provider to manage chronic conditions and to keep track of your blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol numbers. Follow the American Cancer Society's schedule for cancer screenings for early detection of killers such as prostate cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer.