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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: April 1, 2014


DOVER (April 1, 2014) - With April beginning and warmer weather just around the corner, it's time to revisit your New Year's resolutions for a healthier lifestyle. The Division of Public Health (DPH) says "well done" to those who have maintained their goals. For those who forgot their resolutions, it's never too late to start again.

"Stand by Your Plan" for the remainder of the year by following the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

  1. Improve eating and drinking habits

    Kudos to those who are improving their nutrition and weight by drinking less sugary drinks and more water. Eating five or more fruits and vegetables daily and eating portions that are not oversized are other beneficial steps. Adults should maintain an ideal body mass index that is less than 25.

    "Maintaining a healthy weight and making healthier lifestyle choices are the most important things we can do to enhance our quality of life, improve our health, and prevent disease," said Dr. Karyl T. Rattay, DPH director. In addition to drinking more water and less sugary beverages we should all eliminate or restrict alcohol consumption to no more than one drink a day for women, and no more than two drinks a day for men. (One drink is 12 oz. beer, 5 oz. wine or 1 oz. liquor.) Chronic, heavy alcohol use increases the risk of developing breast, oral, liver, and esophageal cancers.

  2. Be more physically active.

    Walking, bicycling, and jogging are great ways to be physically active. The goal for adults is to achieve at least 30 minutes, and children 60 minutes, of moderately intense physical activity most days per week. The key is to begin slowly and build up gradually and try different types of physical activities as you progress. Non-traditional moderate exercise can also count toward the hour, including moderate housework, hand washing a car, actively playing with children, riding a stationary bike, and pushing a lawn mower.

    "It's amazing how much better most people feel after being physically active and getting their hearts pumping," Dr. Rattay said. "Improving physical fitness starts with accomplishing small things and sticking with them."

  3. Take my heart health seriously.

    Monitor blood pressure regularly. Ideal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Persons taking prescribed blood pressure medicine should take it regularly as directed.

    To reduce the possibility of a heart attack or stroke, adults should maintain these recommended waist sizes: for women, less than 35 inches; for men, less than 40 inches; for Asian men, 35 inches; and for Asian women, 32 inches. Persons with measurements outside these ranges are considered at risk and should discuss the results with their health care provider.

    Visit the Million Hearts Delaware website (millionheartsde.com) to learn how to prevent heart disease and stroke by being physically active, managing weight and cholesterol, limiting sodium and trans fat, controlling blood pressure, and avoiding or reducing tobacco use.

  4. Quit using tobacco.

    "One of the most important things we can do is to not smoke or quit smoking, and avoid secondhand smoke," Dr. Rattay said. Tobacco use and regular exposure to tobacco smoke are known to cause lung, kidney, and oral cancers. Smoking causes 85 - 90 percent of all lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Delaware.

    Smokers and other tobacco users seeking to quit can use tobacco cessation counseling and tools reachable through the Delaware Quitline (toll-free at 1-866-409-1858). Services are available for Delaware residents 18 years and older. With help, smokers are more than seven times more likely to quit.

For further inspiration on how to lead healthy lives, visit Delaware Health and Social Services' "31 Days to a Healthier You" tips, photos, how-to videos and contact information, all using the Twitter hashtag #healthDE.

DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day; have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming); get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day; and drink almost no sugary beverages.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.