A healthy lifestyle is important for everyone. The idea for the development of a measure of “health expectancy” (the partitioning of the demographic measure of life expectancy into healthy and non-healthy years of life) originated with a report published in 1969 by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The report noted that both good health and long life are fundamental objectives of human activity, but that despite the substantial rise in life expectancy in the 20th century the overall health status of the population was unknown. In fact, it was recognized that accompanying the rise in life expectancy was the emergence of chronic diseases – thus raising concerns about the future health status of the population if death rates continued to decline.
Sleep – Sleep deprivation increases appetite (and often body weight) and decreases brain function. So proper sleep helps your energy, weight maintenance and your ability to think and concentrate. We spend our lives sitting – at our desks, in front of the TV, in a meeting or on the phone. New research is emerging highlighting the potential risk to health from all our sitting behaviour. So break your sitting time by standing for five minutes and reap the health benefits.
Visit the Australian Government’s healthdirect website for more information about eating healthily , or browse the eatforhealth website. Be sure to tell the doctor, too, about any family history of medical conditions (such as diabetes or heart disease), and any medications you are taking, whether prescribed or not.
However, when comparing outcomes for groups with very different life expectancies, the proportion of life spent in poor health is also useful. Two populations may both spend on average 15 years in poor health which might be a quarter of life for a group with life expectancy of 60, but only a sixth for a group with life expectancy of 90.
Neighbourhood houses often run groups that can help you with healthy living including Tai Chi, meditation, Yoga, dance or walking groups. Some also have groups such as weight loss programs, Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous. People with asthma should keep their flu shots up to date. Ask your doctor which vaccinations are recommended for your age group and health conditions.