Keeping up with your health as you age can seem difficult. With work, family, bills to pay, and errands to run, you may think that focusing on your health isn’t as important in your middle-aged years, but a recent report shows it’s more important than ever.
Preventative Care in Middle Age
A report by the AARP Public Policy Institute found that most middle-aged adults significantly underuse preventative services that are recommended for their age group and it often leads to detrimental consequences.
Services like mammograms, pap tests, colorectal cancer screenings, and flu shots are suggested to adults during the middle-aged years in their life, but very few actually follow the suggestions and receive these preventative services that could potentially bring an otherwise unknown issue to light.
Currently, 44% of US adults between the ages of 50 and 64 have high blood pressure. In addition to that, 33% of middle-aged adults are obese. These risk factors for diseases such as heart disease and health incidents such as stroke pose serious problems that many people refuse to address. Rather than take part in preventative services and attempt to change their lifestyle for the better, most people simply continue on the path of least resistance and live their unhealthy lifestyle until it causes them more tangible problems.
Few States Keeping Up
Southern states have the highest percentage of risk factors like high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, and high cholesterol. The Northeast, on the other hand, has the highest percentage of preventative services used. Still, even these states didn’t meet the federal targets for usage.
States across the country have target numbers set for the preventative services offered and little to none have actually met the targets proposed by the federal government. Only 5 states met the past year’s colon cancer screening target and Utah is the only state that met the set target for smoking. None of the fifty states met the target for flu vaccinations.
According to the report, anywhere between 25,000 and 40,000 deaths could be prevented annually if middle-aged adults altered their lifestyle to include healthy activities and took advantage of these preventative services.
Healthy lifestyle factors include quitting smoking, losing weight, eating healthful foods, and exercising regularly. Typically, it is the things that unhealthy people take pleasure in like lounging around, eating junk food, and smoking that cause them the most harm in the end.
Making simple lifestyle changes can be extremely effective at lengthening your lifespan and reducing your risk of disease. There’s no doubt that Texans enjoy delicious food, and you don’t have to give that up to be healthy, but moderation is key when it comes to foods that we know aren’t that great for our body. On top of that, getting out of the house and taking a walk, even just for 30 minutes, can make a big difference in your health, as well.