CHICAGO — As the new year quickly approaches, the American Medical Association (AMA) is offering 10 recommendations to help Americans make the most impactful, long-lasting improvements to their health in 2020 and beyond.

“With too many holiday sweets and not enough exercise likely in the rearview mirror, now is the perfect time to consider your personal goals and how you can make positive health choices in the coming year,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.P.H. “The good news is that there are a few easy steps you can take that will set you on the right track for a healthier 2020.”

The AMA’s 10 recommendations for a healthier new year, include the following:

  1. Learn your risk for type 2 diabetes—take the self-screening test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. Steps you take now can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
  1. 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.
  1. Know your blood pressure numbers—visit LowerYourHBP.org to better understand your blood pressure numbers and take necessary steps to get your high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, under control. Doing so will reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.
  1. Reduce your intake of processed foods, 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, a new study published in JAMA Network Open suggests.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Pain medication is personal—if you are taking prescription opioids or other medications, follow your doctor’s instructions, store them safely to prevent misuse, and properly dispose of any leftover medication.
  1. Make sure your family is up-to-date on their vaccines—this includes getting the annual influenza vaccine for everyone age six months or older. If you’re pregnant, you can receive the flu vaccine during any trimester, but should receive the Tdap vaccine early in the third trimester to protect yourself against flu and whooping cough.
  1. Manage stress—a good diet, sufficient sleep (at least 7.5 hours per night), daily exercise and wellness activities, like 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.

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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Kelly Jakubek

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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.