"ACE -- activity, checkups and eating healthy. Making sure you stay
active by walking, biking or some other physical activity; getting
regular checkups from your doctor; and eating healthy help you
achieve whole-body health," said Dr. Arnold, director of the
Department of Public Health. "In the game of life, you don't want to
gamble with your health. Your ace in the hole, or winning card, to
help you win the game and live a longer, healthier life is activity,
checkups and eating healthy."
This year's theme for
Health Week, April 6-12, is "Building the Foundation for a
Healthy America." According to the American Public Health
Association, although we spend more on health care than any other
nation, our nation is falling behind in many important measures of
what it means to be healthy:
expectancy has reached a record high of 78.1 years but still
ranks 46th -- behind Japan and most of Europe, as well as
countries such as Guam, South Korea and Jordan.
We're among the
top 10 countries that have the most people with HIV/AIDS, and it
is estimated that one in 20 residents in the nation's capital
Disparities persist, with ethnic
minority populations having nearly eight times the death rate of
non-minority populations for key health conditions, such as
"Three important building blocks in the foundation for a
healthier America include physical activity, healthy eating and
getting regular checkups," Arnold said.
The recently released physical activity guidelines for Americans
recommend at least 2 1/2 hours of physical activity every week.
Physical activity helps to:
Reduce high blood
Reduce risk for
Type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke and several forms of
pain and associated disability.
Reduce risk for
osteoporosis and falls.
Reduce symptoms of depression and
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The same diseases can also be
brought on by poor eating habits. According to the dietary
guidelines for Americans, a healthy eating plan:
vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk
meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts.
Is low in saturated
fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.
Stays within your daily calorie needs.
"Staying active and eating healthy are important, but you also
need to make sure you go in for checkups," Arnold said. "Regular
health exams and tests can help find problems before they start.
They also can help find problems early, when your chances for
treatment and cure are better. By going in for regular screenings
and treatments, you are taking steps that help your chances for
living a longer, healthier life. Remember your 'ACE in the Whole' in
the game of life -- activity, checkups and eating healthy lead to
Illinois Department of Public Health
file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]