1. Develop a good relationship with a primary care provider. “If you don’t feel good about your PCP, find one you like and make a point of going even when everything is fine,” says Dr. Berkovich.
2. Learn your risk factors, including family history. “Know your personal circumstances,” says Silber. “Being proactive could make a real difference.”
3. Get your recommended medical screenings, based on your age and other factors. “A colonoscopy isn’t fun,” says Dr. Pollack. “But don’t wait until it’s too late.”
4. Consider what’s in the food you eat and feed your family. “There are lots of foods, like yogurt, for example, that people think are healthy but which often have a lot of sugar,” says Dr. Lightman. He recommends checking the glycemic index of foods, as well as avoiding foods with extremely high sodium content.
5. Make sure you are drinking enough water. “I frequently see a lack of proper hydration,” says Dr. Lightman, which impacts so much of a person’s function.
6. When attending an event, consider in advance what foods you might want to enjoy or avoid. “When it comes to what we eat, if we invest no prior thought or intention, we tend to make worse choices,” says fitness coach Chaim Loeb.
7. Make time for physical activity in your schedule. “When I meet a patient, I can tell who is active and who isn’t,” says Dr. Pollack, “because it makes a difference.” Additionally, children should be encouraged to play outside and be as active as possible. “Children are on devices starting at a very young age, which precludes active play,” says Dr. Lightman. Even something as simple as taking a family walk for ten minutes can be beneficial.
Rachel Schwartzberg is a writer and editor who lives with her family in Memphis, Tennessee.
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Encouraging Better Health as a Community by Rachel Schwartzberg