Heart Choices: Lifestyle Related Risk Factors -->

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Lifestyle Related Risk Factors

Today is Fitness Friday. Our host is Sandy of God Speaks Today. You can link there to join in or link to other participating blogs with fitness posts.

Have you heard of The Dirty Dozen? Now before you say that The Dirty Dozen is an old movie starring Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin, let me stop you to say ...that's not what I'm writing about today.

After all, it's Fitness Friday and I want to remain on topic.

But have you ever considered how likely you are to die of a lifestyle related risk factor?

My hubby and I had the opportunity to spend a month at the Pritikin Center several years ago. This was when they were located in a beautiful beach hotel in Santa Monica close to the famous pier. Not a shabby place to get healthy, I can tell you. I continue to receive a monthly newsletter with many of the latest studies on health and wellness.

In the June 2009 newsletter, they shared the findings of a new study and the authors come from several institutions that include the Harvard School of Public Health, the University of Washington, and the University of Toronto. They analyzed nationally representative data.

Their conclusion was that ...more than one million Americans die annually from 12 lifestyle-related risk factors.

They call them The Dirty Dozen. Listen guys, these are risk factors over which we have control.

According to Daniel Akst in a May 15, 2009 commentary on this study in The Wall Street Journal, "Too many of us appear to be bent on slow-motion suicide."

So here they are "The Dirty Dozen":
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Inadequate physical activity and inactivity
  • High blood glucose
  • High LDL cholesterol
  • High dietary salt
  • Low dietary omega-3 fatty acids from seafood
  • High dietary trans fat
  • Alcohol use
  • Low fruit and vegetable intake
  • Low dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids

The reason this study was conducted was to bring attention to the importance of lifestyle changes. They wanted to bring this information to the current healthcare discussions going on in Washington DC.

With the food industry promoting unhealthy food and mega-meals being served at restaurants, children today are becoming increasingly overweight and even obese. Now, I'm not crazy about government intervention and more regulations but that might be coming.

In the meantime, what can you do?

  • Start by teaching your children about healthy eating
  • Practice what you preach
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Provide healthy snacks
  • Walk, walk and walk
  • Eat smaller portions
  • Limit your eating out
  • Drink lots of water
  • Get physical; encourage your children to release some of their energy through sports or simply running outside
  • Don't smoke

This really hit home for me yesterday when I got a phone call from my brother Steve telling me that a good friend of ours died suddenly.

I've known Matt since I was 16 years old and he and my brother have continued their friendship over the years. They both entered the Navy together, they share the same birthday July 10th and they're the same age. Matt would have turned 58 next month. It's much too young to die. He died in his sleep when his wife checked on him since it was later than normal. Very sad news!

So, let's get serious about these lifestyle risk factors. Yes, we'll all die one day. That's a fact. But in the meantime, we can be stewards of our bodies and do our part. What are you doing to positively impact your health?

Debbie Petras
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  1. Love that pic!!!

    I heard of the Dirty Dozen as it relates to food that you should always buy organic, as it is the most heavily sprayed. But I hadn't heard of your Dirty Dozen list.

    The slow suicide is such a real phenomenon. People think they are getting away with their lifestyles because they aren't seeing immediately deadly effects. But inside their bodies are slowing dying.

    Great post, as usual. I'd love to catch up and hear how your life is going!!!


  2. I love how all of our posts went hand-and-hand this week and it wasn't even planned.

    I loved how informative your posts are!

  3. Debbie - I was so sorry to hear of the death of your friend and I prayed for the loved ones and all who knew him in this time of grief.

    Your message here is powerful, true and a must read. I JUST said to my husband this morning that we are not young people any more. While we are not old at 44 and 43 we are not young where we can get away with eating the garbage, going with little sleep and not exercising. I STOPPED doing those things 2 yrs ago. I'm working on him. I think little by little he's realizing that it's the subtle things we do continously that can take you out before GOD says so!

    I know of Christians who are so convinced that they won't die until GOD says so and they continue to NOT address their obesity. It totally breaks my heart. One sister is breathless while eating at Hardees (in VA) and telling me, "O girl stop talking to me about all that working out cause I'm not going any where until God says so". God gives us kingdom common sense and we have to take care of ourselves or we are asking for our time to be shorten.

    Sorry to run on but this is a very personal and important area to me because I know MANY on this road.

    I love you. I didn't post today so I missed FF. I'll try to be ready for next week :) However I'm going to post your link.

  4. Thanks for sharing this dear.

  5. Dear Debbie,
    I am truly sorry for your loss.

    I believe in that "our times are in the hands of God."
    In that lies no contradiction to the other word, "Our bodies shall be temples for God."
    We should of course treat them as such.
    From Felisol

  6. A lot to think about here. Thankfully I can say almost none of these things on the list apply to me. The one thing I really need to do though is be more physically active and quit sitting in front of the computer so much.
    Thanks for sharing this.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  7. I hopped over from Jills at Forever n Ever n Always...what perfect timing!

    I am dealing with the effects of poor lifestyle choices right now. I am currently under the care of my doctor. I relate to four things on the Dirty Dozen. I recently began a lifestyle change for the BETTER. It's not easy (I need lots of prayer), but it's what I have to do to become - and stay - healthy.

    Thanks so much for a very informative post!

    Beth E.

  8. I loved the list of things that I should be eating. I just returned from vacation, so the frig. and cabinets are waiting to be restocked. I'm buying lots more fruits and healthy snacks. Now is I could just learn portion control!

  9. Teaching children early on is a great way to hopefully mold them into being healthier when they get older.

    I'd kind of like to add driving unsafely in that list. Particularly in Arizona without the law saying motorcyclists must wear helmets. Someone I work with smokes and doesn't wear a helmet, and I always wonder if she has a death wish.

    ~ Kristi


I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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