Four health risk behaviors—lack of physical activity, poor
nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption—are
responsible for much of the illness and death related to chronic
diseases. Seven out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from
chronic diseases.1 Heart
disease, cancer, and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths
A new CDC report finds that people can live longer if they
practice one or more healthy lifestyle behaviors— not smoking,
eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and
limiting alcohol consumption.2 Not
smoking provides the most protection from dying early from all
People who engaged in all four healthy behaviors were 66 percent
less likely to die early from cancer, 65 percent less likely to die
early from cardiovascular disease, and 57 percent less likely to
die early from other causes compared to people who did not engage
in any of the healthy behaviors.2
What You Can Do to Live a Healthier and Longer Life
Avoid Excessive Alcohol Use:
- Drink alcohol in moderation (men should have no more than two
drinks per day; and women no more than one drink per day).
- If you do not smoke, don't start.
- If you currently smoke, and want to quit, call 1-800-Quit-Now,
a free telephone support service that can help you to stop smoking
or using tobacco.
- Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat
dairy products, and seafood.
- Eat fewer foods with sodium (salt), saturated fats, trans fats,
cholesterol, added sugars, and refined grains.
Engage in Physical Activity:
- Participate in 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of
moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every
- Participate in 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of
vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running)
every week, or
- Participate in an equivalent mix of moderate- and
vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and
- Engage in muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a
week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen,
chest, shoulders, and arms)
- Kung HC, Hoyert DL, Xu JQ, Murphy SL. Deaths: final data for
2005. National Vital Statistics Reports 2008;56(10).
- Ford ES, Zhao G, Tsai J, Li C. Low-risk lifestyle behaviors and
all-cause mortality: Findings from the National Health and
Nutrition Examination Survey III Mortality Study. American Journal
of Public Health., published online ahead of print August
CDC works 24/7 saving lives and protecting
people from health threats to have a more secure nation. A US
federal agency, CDC helps make the healthy choice the easy choice
by putting science and prevention into action. CDC works to help
people live longer, healthier and more productive lives.