from Eastern Idaho Public Health

Good health is a key component to a satisfying life. The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on the past year and decide what worked and didn’t work and to make decisions about what you would like to improve or change moving forward. Setting goals and having an action plan are key ingredients to your success. The following are four simple things you can do to improve your health in 2017 and achieve the life you desire.

  1. Quit smoking. Research shows one out of two smokers will die from a smoking-related illness, like lung cancer or emphysema. Not only does smoking have devastating effects on the body, but on the pocketbook as well. Quitting smoking may be one of the hardest things you will ever do in your life, but the benefits you will reap will be outstanding. There are services available in the community to help you quit cigarettes, E-cigarettes and chewing tobacco. Call Neeley at 533-3158 and she can get you started on a nicotine-free life.
  1. Get more physical activity. Don’t worry when you read this. You don’t need to lace up your sneakers and sign up for a marathon. We would simply like you to get up and move more. Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health conditions, including obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Simple strategies to move more include parking farther away from the door while shopping, taking the stairs instead of an elevator and taking periodic walking breaks during the day. Small changes in your daily routine can add up to big health benefits over time.
  1. Eat more fruit and vegetables. People who eat more fruits and vegetables are more likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Fruits and vegetables provide nutrients that are vital for the health and maintenance of your body. The following are great tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help you eat more fruits and vegetables:
  • Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season. They cost less and are likely to be at their peak flavor.
  • Buy fruits and vegetables that are easy to prepare. This will increase the likelihood of you eating them.
  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. It is easy to get bored when you eat the same thing over and over again. Boredom, as with any activity, can increase the likelihood that you will quit all together. Choosing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables can help you stay on track and continue to eat these essential food items.

If you are looking for a program that will help your family eat more fruits and vegetables, check out Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a special supplemental nutrition program for qualifying families. WIC helps eligible families save money, eat well, learn about nutrition and stay healthy at no cost to the family. Visit our website to see if you qualify:  eiph.idaho.gov/WIC/wicmain.html.

4. Go to the doctor. Many people go to the doctor only when they are sick. By doing this, you are missing the opportunity to be prescribed life-saving preventative and early                 detection services, such as cancer screenings. Together, you and your healthcare provider can make a plan to keep you healthy in 2017 and beyond.

Improved health doesn’t happen overnight, but it can dramatically improve both the quantity and quality of our life if you commit.