(L to R) Chairman of Mayor’s Wellness Committee, Dr. Tobi Ippolito, MD; Secretary to Chatham Administrator, Janice Piccolo; President of Chatham-Madison Kiwanis, Dick Plambeck.
Half of all people have at least one chronic disease. These are Cardiac (including stroke), Cancer, Smoking (other than Cardiac and Cancer), and Arthritis. Heart is number one cause of death, cancer is second and stroke is third. Forty percent of Americans have two or more risk factors for heart attack or stroke. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. Nearly 30 million people are affected by diabetes. Arthritis is the most common cause of disability.
One in three adults and one in five youth 6-19 years old are obese and this number grows every year. The power of prevention is the key to addressing chronic diseases and this concept is part of the New Jersey Mayors Wellness Campaign. We can empower ourselves to change life styles and reduce risk factors.
The current situation is alarming. Less than 24 percent of adults and less than 22 percent of children eat 5 or more fruits or vegetables a day. More than 60 percent of US children and adolescents consume more than the recommended allowance of saturated fat. Less than 30 percent of adults exercise on a regular basis.
People could change to a new life style. The Mediterranean diet (low in saturated fat and high in grains, fruits and vegetables) combined with 150 minutes of regular exercise per week can delay the onset of diabetes, improve blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce overall cardiovascular risk and risk of certain cancers. This will also improve emotional well-being and make you feel better because of the endorphins. Smokers can return to the cardiovascular risk level of non-smokers after stopping for only one year. Avoid excess alcohol. See your doctor regularly for screening tests.
Join the Mayor’s Wellness Committee. It is a committee which helps members change their daily lives to achieve better health. They are starting a program called “health chat” which meets 7:30 pm at the Chatham Library on the fourth Thursday of every month. Each month there will be a different health topic.