Five Family Health Goals for the New Year
Keeping everyone in your family healthy in 2019 and beyond is a top priority for most parents. Here are five goals you should reach for when it comes to staying in tip-top shape.
1. Get an annual check-up
Getting a physical from your primary care physician is one of the easiest doctor visits to schedule and complete, and yet it’s something many people forget about. Seeing your doctor should be number one on your list because he or she will likely help you reach your other family health goals.
2. Stick to a reasonable diet
If you don’t like New Year’s resolutions, try not to think of eating well as a burden. Instead, make eating a balanced, nutritious diet fun by trying to expand your menu with new and delicious foods. Start by keeping a log of what you and your family eat. Next, try to hit some target dietary recommendations: Make a game of eating less than 10% of your daily calories from refined sugars, for instance. If you’ve got kids, get them involved with the counting, measuring and targeting aspects of planning your daily food intake.
3. Stay active / exercise
If you like to work out, this task probably comes easily for you. If you don’t, never fear. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week for healthy adults. You can get this by simply taking a brisk walk outside for 30 minutes every day at lunch. Young children should double that amount, and that’s usually achieved through various play and sports activities. As you age, make sure you add weight-bearing exercise to prevent muscle deterioration.
4. Keep up with vaccines
Nobody likes getting a shot, but when it’s recommended by your primary care physician, it’s a good idea to have that vaccine. Certain vaccines are required by states, and school districts often remind parents to get their kids vaccinated — and to complete the full vaccination schedule without fail. However, vaccines can be good for the whole family. Get your annual flu shot, and check with your doctor to make sure you’re up to date on vaccines for tetanus, measles and other preventable diseases.
5. Take preventative measures
Finally, make sure to ask your doctor for recommendations when it comes to preventative practices. Women and adolescent girls, for instance, should be practicing self-breast exams once per month to detect signs of breast cancer. Adults over age 50 should be getting a colonoscopy every five or 10 years to detect colon cancer. Your doctor might instruct you to take dietary supplements, such as calcium or vitamin D, to ward off osteoporosis. There are a lot of steps you and your family can take to mitigate your risk of poor health and disease.
The first step is gaining awareness, and that brings us back to goal number one: Make an appointment to see your primary care physician today.