CHICAGO – As the new year approaches, the American Medical Association (AMA) is offering 10 recommendations to help Americans make the most impactful, long-lasting improvements to their health in 2023 and beyond.
“Many people kick off the start of each new year with big-picture health resolutions—ambitious, immediate lifestyle changes that are very difficult to maintain,” said AMA President Jack Resneck, Jr., M.D. “The good news is that small, positive health choices made right now can have long-lasting effects.”
The AMA’s 10 recommendations for a healthier new year, include the following:
- Be more physically active—adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity.
- Make sure your family is up-to-date on their vaccines—including the annual influenza vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine for everyone age six months or older. Speak with your physician about your eligibility for a bivalent booster. Anyone with questions about the COVID-19 vaccines should speak with their physician and review trusted resources, including getvaccineanswers.org. Following evidence-based public health measures, such as physical distancing and wearing face masks, are also an important way to help protect against COVID-19 and the flu.
- Get screened—estimates based on statistical models show that since April 2020, millions of screenings for breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer diagnoses may have been missed due to pandemic-related care disruptions. Check with your physician to find out if you’re due for preventive care, tests or screenings, and make an appointment. These measures are designed to keep you healthy and help your doctor spot certain conditions before they become more serious.
- Know your blood pressure numbers—visit ManageYourBP.org to better understand your numbers and take necessary steps to get high blood pressure — also known as hypertension — under control. Doing so will reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.
- Learn your risk for type 2 diabetes—take a simple online 2-minute self-screening test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. Steps you take now can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, which is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 outcomes, including hospitalization or death.
- Manage stress—a good diet, sufficient sleep (at least 7.5 hours per night), daily exercise and wellness activities, such as yoga and meditation, are key ingredients to maintaining and improving your mental health, but don’t hesitate to ask for help from a mental health professional when you need it.
- Reduce your intake of processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages, especially those with added sodium and sugar—eat less red meat and processed meats, and add more plant-based foods, such as olive oil, nuts and seeds to your diet. Also reduce your consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and drink more water instead. Drinking sugary beverages, even 100% fruit juices, is associated with a higher all-cause mortality risk, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.
- If consuming alcohol, do so in moderation as defined by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans—up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men, and only by adults of legal drinking age.
- Talk with your doctor about tobacco and e-cigarette use (or vaping) and how to quit—declare your home and car smoke- and aerosol-free to eliminate secondhand exposure.
- Follow your physician’s instructions if prescribed pain medication or antibiotics— if you are taking prescription opioids or other medications, follow your doctor’s instructions, store them safely to prevent diversion or misuse, and properly dispose of any leftover medication. If a health care professional determines that you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed—antibiotic resistance is a serious public health problem and antibiotics will not make you feel better if you have a virus, such as a cold or flu.
The AMA also encourages everyone who is eligible to visit healthcare.gov to sign up for health coverage, which includes recent changes that improve access and affordability. The deadline to enroll for 2023 coverage is Jan. 15, 2022. More health resources and tips can be found by visiting ama-assn.org.
The AMA is committed to improving the health of the nation by leading the charge to prevent and reduce the burden of chronic diseases, like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The AMA will continue its efforts aimed at helping the U.S. achieve no new preventable cases of type 2 diabetes and helping all adults meet their blood pressure goals to ensure patients live richer and fuller lives.
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About the American Medical Association
The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.