The Six Worst Lifestyle Choices You Could Make
Sometimes, we're our own worst enemies when it comes to good
health. A case in point is when we make absolutely horrific
lifestyle choices, often with the full knowledge of just how
horrific they are. Why we make them, or the consequences we
deal with later, are all highly personal, but one thing's
"Our lifestyle choices are a disaster," according
to Dr. Laurence Sperling, chief of preventive cardiology at
Emory School of Medicine. "It's combustible."
He said this in regard to an expert panel that recently lowered
the target for bad cholesterol to 70 or lower for those at
very high risk of heart attack. The target had been less than
100. The move had some experts wondering whether Americans
were so bent on making bad lifestyle choices that their only
hope of living a healthy life is by living a largely drug-induced
That said, we've compiled a list of some of the most offensive
lifestyle choices you could make--and here's to hoping that
we all choose not to do them ... or at least some of them.
Scientifically, overeating means eating an amount that is
"inappropriately large for a given energy expenditure."
Realistically, overeating is something that many Americans
do as a hobby -- at their favorite restaurant, on their favorite
holiday, with their favorite snack food, or just because they're
with friends. It doesn't really matter when; we just do it.
If you only overeat once or twice a year, chances are you'll
be OK, but do it compulsively and you're headed down the road
to obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and
Most Americans who smoke are trying to quit or want
quit, yet 48 million of us still do it.
This one is obvious yet ironic because, according to the
American Heart Association, of the estimated 48 million Americans
who smoke cigarettes, most are either actively trying to quit
or want to quit.
Most people are familiar with the related health effects
of emphysema, cancer and heart disease, but smoking can also
have negative effects on the eyes, the throat, the urinary
tract, the digestive organs, the bones and joints, and the
3. Drinking and Driving
Another obvious one, yet, according to the National Center
for Injury Prevention and Control, in 2002 about 1.5 million
drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol
(or narcotics). And, in 2003, 17,013 people in the United
States died in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, representing
40 percent of all traffic-related deaths.
If there's going to be drinking, decide on a designated driver
beforehand; this one is really that simple.
Americans love junk food - -even knowing what it does
to our health.
4. Living on fast food.
Going hand-in-hand with overeating, living on a junk food
diet is another surefire way to end up overweight and suffering
from a myriad of health problems ranging from clogged arteries
to depression. One only needs to turn on Morgan Spurlock's
documentary "Super Size Me" to find out exactly
what the body goes through after consuming nothing but fast
food for 30 straight days.
"I start to get tired, I start to get headaches; my
liver basically starts to fill up with fat because there's
so much fat and sugar in this food. My blood sugar skyrockets,
my cholesterol goes up off the charts, my blood pressure becomes
completely unmanageable. The doctors were like, 'You have
to stop,'" Spurlock said.
Still, according to Eric Schlosser's Fast
Food Nation, the average American eats three hamburgers
and four orders of fries--every week.
5. Not exercising.
Given all the great things that we know exercise is good
HDL (good) cholesterol
- Improving the circulatory system
- Lowering blood pressure and blood fats
- Reducing the risk for heart disease, heart attack and
- Strengthening muscles
- Increasing flexibility
- Building stronger bones and fighting osteoporosis
- Relieving stress and anxiety
It is curious that we're not all doing it. Imagine a pill
that came out with those types of real benefits -- it'd be
flying off the shelves. To not exercise, then, (assuming you
are able to) is akin to turning down all of those excellent
6. Living With Your Stress.
We all have stress, but if you don't do something to relieve
it, sooner or later it will take its toll on you. Stress is
linked to everything from heart disease and a decrease in
immune function to depression and digestive problems. The
good news is that stress can be relieved ... you just need
to find a method that works for you. Here are some tips to
- Soaking in a bath
- Hiking, biking or swimming
Signs it is REALLY Time to Leave Your Job
to Make All Your Relationships Work
Atlanta Journal-Constitution July 19, 2005
The Health Risks
Irreversible Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking
Center for Injury Prevention and Control
Magazine: The Way We Eat Now