By: Jennifer Chubinski
According to a study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four health behaviors contribute to a longer life. Those health behaviors are: not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and limiting alcohol consumption.
Their specific recommendations can be found here, and include:
- Avoid tobacco
- Drink alcohol in moderation (on average women no more than one drink per day, men no more than two drinks per day)
- Improve nutrition by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and seafood
- Engage in physical activity, specific recommendations are for moderate (150 minutes/week) OR vigorous (75 minutes/week) physical activity AND strength training at least two days per week that works all major muscle groups.
As a region how are we doing on these health behaviors?
Results from the recent 2013 Greater Cincinnati Community Health Status Survey (CHSS) show that we are making progress, but still have a long way to go. When you look at the results – what do you think we should be working on as a community? If you had to pick one behavior to improve, what would you choose?
1.) Smoking: Area’s rate higher than the nation’s
The smoking rate in Greater Cincinnati continues to be higher than the national average (20%). In 2013, 25% of adults in this region were current smokers. However, this rate has been steadily decreasing over the past 14 years, down from 35% in 1999. Regionally, we still have a higher percentage of smokers than the Healthy People 2020 goal of 12%. For more details on smoking in our region, click here.
2.) Alcohol: 2 in 10 area adults report binge drinking
While drinking in moderation poses no or low health risks for most adults, having more than one or two drinks per day increases the risk of health problems. Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks on one occasion for men and four or more drinks for women. Two in 10 Greater Cincinnati adults (20%) report binge drinking in the 30 days before the CHSS, compared with 17% of adults in the nation. The binge drinking rate has remained relatively stable for both the region and the nation.
Some adults in our region are more likely to report binge drinking in the last month, including adults who:
- lack health insurance (33%)
- are 18 to 29 years old (33%)
- are male (29%)
- have less than a high school education (26%)
For more details on alcohol consumption in our region, please click here.
3.) Fruit and Vegetable Consumption: Few adults eat recommended amount
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, a joint project of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS), recommends that each meal include half a plate of fruits and vegetables. Adults meeting this recommendation would eat at least 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables per day.
Most local adults fall far short of this goal. In fact, 45% of adults do not eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables, more than double the percentage of adults who do (18%). Consumption of fruits and vegetables has also declined over time. In 2010, 22% of Greater Cincinnati adults reported eating the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. In 2013, this declined to 18%. Adults are more likely to eat the recommended daily amount of fruits (28%) than vegetables (9%).
4.) Physical Activity: Many engage in some leisure-time physical activity.
The majority of adults in our region (75%) report participating in some leisure-time physical activity, more than the national Healthy People 2020 goal of 67%.
Given these data and what you know about our region’s health behaviors, what do you think we should be working on as a community?