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By Andrew Crocker, M.S.

Last week I got a coupon for half off at a local store. I didn’t need anything, but the idea of being able to reduce the price by 50% got me in the door…and got the retailer a sale. Half is a lot. And a powerful motivator. What if I told you that basically half of your health status is determined by things over which you have some level of control? Powerful motivator, right?

Chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, among others, are common in the United States and can be very expensive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top lifestyle choices we can make to improve our overall health and reduce our risk for developing a chronic condition are

  • Tobacco Cessation – take advantage of resources, services, and benefits to stop using smoke and smokeless tobacco.
  • Physical Activity – try to get 30 minutes of activity per day, most days of the week.
  • Proper Nutrition – vary your diet with lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.
  • Moderate Alcohol Use – follow current guidance for men, not to exceed two beverages per day, and women, not to exceed one beverage per day.

For more information related to chronic conditions and what you can do to help reduce your risk for developing them, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. They also have resources related to how chronic conditions affect military readiness.