Recommendations for healthy New Year’s resolutions

Now that Christmas is past, thoughts turn to the coming arrival of 2019 less than a week away.

It’s the time when many make resolutions to change their behavior in the new year. With that in mind, the American Medical Association has offered 10 recommendations to help Americans make long-lasting improvements to their health in 2019.

“This is the perfect time of year for each of us to consider our personal goals and how we can make positive health choices in the coming year,” said Dr. Barbara McAneny, AMA president. “We encourage everyone to prioritize their long-term health by making small lifestyle changes now that can have a lasting effect in improving their health.”

The AMA’s 10 recommendations for a healthier new year include —

— Learn the risks for type 2 diabetes by taking the self-screening test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. Steps taken now can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

— Be more physically active. Adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity.

— Know your blood pressure numbers. Go to LowerYourHBP.org to better understand the numbers and take necessary steps to get high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, under control. Doing so will reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.

— Reduce the intake of processed foods, especially those with added sodium and sugar. Also reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and drink more water instead.

— If a health care professional determines antibiotics are needed, take them exactly as prescribed. Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health problem. Also, antibiotics will not make people feel better if they have a virus, such as a cold or flu.

— If consuming alcohol, do so in moderation as defined by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans — up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men, and only by adults of legal drinking age.

— If a tobacco user, consult with a physician on quitting tobacco and nicotine. Make home and vehicle smoke-free to eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.

— Make pain medication personal — if taking prescription opioids, follow the doctor’s instructions, store them safely to prevent diversion or misuse and properly dispose of any leftover medication.

— Make sure family members are up to date on their vaccines — this includes getting an annual influenza vaccine for everyone age 6 months or older.

— Manage stress — a good diet and daily exercise are key ingredients to maintaining and improving mental health but don’t hesitate to ask for help from a friend or mental health professional when needed.

The AMA offers best wishes to all for a happy and healthy new year.

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