Living life to the fullest is something that many of us strive for, but it’s important to keep in mind that our daily habits can either make us or break us when it comes to achieving long-term health. Unfortunately, many of us have bad habits that not only take away from our enjoyment and productivity each day, but may also increase our risk of serious health problems and even an early death.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that close to two million deaths each year are attributed to bad habits. Here are some of the worst habits that you may do every day that can increase your risk of premature death:
Smoking: Smoking cigarettes is still one of the leading causes of premature death. It’s estimated that 22 percent of all deaths worldwide are linked to smoking. Cigarettes contain more than 7,000 chemicals, including toxic metals and substances like arsenic and formaldehyde, as well as nicotine and tar. Smoking increases the risk of lung cancer, stroke, and cardiovascular disease, and it can also lead to numerous other health problems, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Binge Drinking: People who binge drink defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as consuming five or more drinks in a single setting are at increased risk of experiencing alcohol poisoning and injuries. It’s also associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, liver disease, and certain types of cancer. Binge drinking can also indirectly increase the risk of death by leading to risky behavior, such as driving under the influence and violence.
Sitting Too Much: Sitting for long periods of time can lead to a number of health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. A study from the American Cancer Society found that spending six or more hours each day sitting was linked to a 20 percent increased risk of premature death. Standing or taking regular breaks from sitting can help to reduce this risk.
Not Eating Enough Fruits and Vegetables: Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is essential for optimal health. Research shows that people who don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables are at higher risk for a number of health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and stroke. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables have an 82 percent greater chance of premature death than those who do.
Skipping the Flu Shot: The flu virus is a major cause of death in the United States, especially among adults 65 and older. Getting a flu shot each year is the best way to reduce your risk of getting the flu and experiencing complications from the virus. According to the CDC, flu shots can reduce the risk of death by 60 percent among the elderly.
These are just a few of the bad habits that can lead to premature death. Fortunately, there is something you can do to reduce your risk. Make a conscious effort to cut out bad habits and replace them with healthy ones, such as regular physical activity, a well-balanced diet, adequate sleep, and stress management. Doing so can help to improve your overall health and longevity.
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