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Choose Healthy, Safer Living

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Your investment in healthy, safer living is a valuable investment in your future.

by Hans Petersen, VA staff writer
Thursday, April 4, 2013

Veterans! Second Chance for Those New Year’s Resolutions

Whether we vow to lose weight, get fit, or quit smoking, the promises we make to ourselves are sometimes the hardest to keep. Forty-five percent of American adults make one or more New Year’s resolutions each year but only 8 percent will achieve them.

If you made a resolution and failed to maintain it, you are not alone. Only 64 percent of resolutions are maintained after one month and 46 percent after 6 months. If you are having trouble maintaining your resolutions, don’t be discouraged by these numbers.

Your second chance is here: National Public Health Week, April 1-7, is the perfect time to recommit yourself to your goal or to start fresh with a new one. The week is dedicated to raising awareness and changing behaviors so we all can live healthier, safer, and better lives.

Start out by making just one positive change to improve your health. Small actions like getting routine health screenings or keeping your immunizations current can lead to big health benefits for you, your family, and your community.

 …the perfect time to recommit yourself to your goal. 

Safety: The Flip Side of Health

Like two sides of the same coin, safety and health go hand in hand. Like good health, safety begins at home. Approximately 245 people die of unintentional injuries in homes and communities every day. The leading causes of unintentional injury death in the U.S. include motor vehicle crashes, poisonings, falls, choking, and fire.

Did you know?

  • About half of all falls happen at home. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. They are also the most common cause of non-fatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in Veterans in the early years after returning from deployment. Impaired driving is dangerous and causes more than half of all motor vehicle crashes.

There are some practical steps you can take to be safe in your home and car.

Prevent falls:

  • Install grab bars next to your toilet and in the tub or shower.
  • Wear shoes both inside and outside the house. Avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
  • Remove things you can trip over (such as papers, books, clothes, shoes, throw rugs) from stairs and places where you walk.
  • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors.
  • Engage in regular physical activity, especially strengthening exercises that may reduce your risk of falling by increasing strength and balance.

Prevent motor vehicle crashes and injury:

  • Don’t drive, or ride with somebody under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Reduce your chance, and your loved ones’ chances, of dying from a motor vehicle-related injury by correctly using seat belts and car seats. Wear seat belts in cars and helmets on motorcycles and bicycles.
  • Don’t text or talk on a cell phone while driving.

Your investments in healthy, safer living are investments in our nation’s health and by extension, our future.

Six simple steps to healthier living

  1. Eat wisely
  2. Be physically active
  3. Quit tobacco
  4. Get routine screenings, such as HIV testing
  5. Keep up-to-date on immunizations
  6. Wash hands to help stop the spread of infection

Videos to help you get started: