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It's in your jeans, not your genes

Sep. 16, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

When Humble Pie sang "I Don't Need No Doctor," they were extolling the healing power of love -- one of the essentials for a long, healthy life. (And little did they know, they were advocating something that could reduce future avoidable health care problems.)

Unfortunately, in the U.S. today, folks are not embracing the life-extending and life-improving powers of love (and sex), physical activity and healthy nutrition. The result? We're living longer but sicker. Obesity is now the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S., and the expected number of healthy years that an American loses to disability has increased from 9.4 to 10.1. Chronic disability accounts for nearly half of the cost of U.S. health care and because of health care costs, America is becoming less competitive. Spending on other important programs, like education and jobs, becomes increasingly difficult. This should humble every American (without the pie, please!).

Obesity and the health problems it triggers -- diabetes, dementia, cancer, heart disease, depression, a lousy love life, and more -- can be avoided. The power to have a long, healthy life is in your jeans! So here's what you can do.

Get your diet on a healthy track by avoiding the Five Food Felons (added sugars and syrups, saturated and trans fats, and any grain that's not 100 percent whole). Walk 10,000 steps a day, and get 30 minutes of strength-building exercise two to three days a week. Meditate for 10 minutes daily. Open your heart to your friends, family and strangers. Generosity and love are great health builders.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.



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