When a new year comes around, it is fair to say that many of us will make resolutions and that the majority of these will be related to our general health and wellbeing. For example many vow to quit smoking, do more exercise or cut down on takeaways. However, change needn’t just come with the beginning of a new year. You can make a positive alteration to your lifestyle on any day of the year – all you need is the motivation to do so!
Perhaps this motivation could come in the form of the recent Global Burden of Disease Study. While it may sound ominous, this research, which collates information relating to worldwide health issues spanning from 1970 – 2010, is in fact one of the most interesting and enlightening studies of its kind.
Bupa have reported some of the key findings from the study and claimed that, as of 2010, the global population is actually living longer despite the burden of disease. The positives that we can take from this are that life expectancy is greater and globally we are experiencing far less childhood mortalities. However, the facts do show that while we are living longer, some of us are doing so under the shadow of serious health risks. The researchers behind the study looked at some 67 different risk factors to determine which of these had the most detrimental effects.
So, what were the highest risks to be identified and is it possible for us to remedy them? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the biggest contributors to health loss were revealed to be high blood pressure, followed by tobacco smoking and then alcohol use. While it may be a sobering thought to consider that our more sedentary lifestyles and unhealthier diets have most likely contributed to these three issues being so high, the good news is that we can make changes to address each of them.
While high blood pressure came out as the highest risk factor, this can be exasperated by both smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. So perhaps these are the areas that we should first look at to try and decrease the amount of us living with ill health? There are now a number of options available to those who are looking to quit smoking – why not research what is available in your area? And cutting back on your alcohol intake should be down to individual willpower, although if you have any concerns do consider seeking advice from your doctor.
A change of diet and taking regular exercise may also reduce the risk of high blood pressure and could help prevent some of the other risk factors identified in the study such as diabetes. If you currently eat an unhealthy diet, by including more fruit and veg and less salt in your diet you can help to reduce your risk of obesity and illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and some types of cancer.
These changes may seem self-explanatory, however as the study has proven, the issues are very real. If you are a journalist and would like more information on these issues or any other medical topic, you may like to contact health experts for more information.