Get Healthy, Stay Healthy

New Orleans Coroner, Dr. Dwight McKenna, is focusing on lifestyle medicine. Dr. McKenna says early detection of chronic disease has too often been defined as prevention; and despite early detection, trends of obesity, type 2 diabetes and hypertension continue to go up.

Today, more than half of American adults now live with at least one chronic disease, and more than 40% have been diagnosed with two or more. Dr. McKenna says lifestyle makes a difference – including a whole-food, plant based eating pattern, regular physical activity, good sleep, managing stress and positive social connection as a primary modality to prevent and treat diseases.

Whole food plant based diet appears to significantly help against heart disease, the leading cause of disability among adults aged 50 years and older. Plant based diets are also associated with lower body weight. A healthy diet can also help with type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Dr. McKenna says cancer may be reduced with plant foods and fewer carbohydrates. Cancer is the second leading cause of mortality and will soon exceed cardiovascular disease as the primary cause.

As always, physical activity is key to improving overall health. Muscular strength, local muscular endurance, flexibility, intensity helps so much with a quality lifestyle. Exercise should be done daily for at least 30 minutes. Consider a stroll in the park, running, exercise machines, swimming or riding a bike.

The general recommendation is to alternate between impact and non-impact sessions. You can progress by increasing how much physical activity you do and for how long.