This would save 37 million lives over 15 years. In a report in the Lancet, public health experts note that the way to prevent these deaths is not surprising. However, implementing these strategies will require individual and political will. Here’s how experts hope to do it.
The UN General Assembly set a goal to reduce smoking worldwide by 30% by 2025. Already, smoking rates have fallen in higher-income countries that have adopted public smoking bans and introduced tobacco taxes.
Reducing alcohol consumption
Although moderate amounts of alcohol tend to have health benefits, excessive drinking can increase the risk of certain cancers and liver diseases, and contribute to high blood pressure. Educating people about the risks of excessive drinking as well as taxing alcoholic beverages is a way to combat this.
Reducing salt in the diet
Food high in sodium can raise blood pressure and contribute to heart disease and stroke. In many developed countries, people eat much more salt than their body needs. In the US, the average American consumes about 800 mg more salt per day than health experts consider acceptable.
Blood pressure should be controlled
Lack of exercise and a high-sodium diet contribute to hypertension, and uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke and heart disease. Monitoring blood pressure with regular screenings and treating elevated levels by changing diet and exercise or using medication when necessary are the most effective ways to prevent this risk factor.
Pay attention to diabetes
Closely related to the obesity epidemic currently affecting both developing and developed countries, diabetes can increase the risk of heart disease, kidney disease and other life-shortening conditions. Research shows that lifestyle changes that include a healthy, low-sugar diet and exercise can be as effective as medication in controlling blood sugar.
The trend of obesity is associated with the consumption of processed and calorie-rich foods and finally with the transition to a sedentary lifestyle. Addressing the problem of obesity alone can also have a beneficial effect on reducing other chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. Public health campaigns that emphasize the high calorie content of fast and processed foods and programs that provide access to fresh fruits and vegetables, including in schools, could be a guide to healthier lifestyles.
*Articles on Lifehacks.lv are intended for informational and educational purposes only, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your doctor if you have any questions about your health.
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