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Lifestyle Choices and Personal Wellness: Decisions, Behavior & Prevention

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  • 0:01 Making the Right…
  • 0:35 Lifestyle Choices
  • 2:09 Prevention Is Key
  • 5:00 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
What are lifestyle choices? What are acute and chronic problems? Which U.S. agencies are important for disease prevention? You'll find out about this and more in this lesson!

Making the Right Personal Decisions

'You are what you eat!' That phrase has been around for who knows how long. And quite frankly, it's not too far off the mark. If you eat well, you are much more likely to have a healthy body and mind. If you choose junk food over fresh vegetables, then this is less likely to be the case.

Of course, personal decisions made about food aren't the only lifestyle choices we make. Our behavior influences our health and well-being far beyond the confines of dietary choices, as you'll soon learn.

Lifestyle Choices

You've probably already heard of the term lifestyle choices outside of my mentioning it just a minute ago. A lifestyle choice is a personal and conscious decision to perform a behavior that may increase or decrease the risk of injury or disease.

I am positive you have already made lifestyle choices. If you exercise every morning by riding your bicycle, then you made a positive lifestyle choice to increase your physical wellness.

If you choose not to drink alcohol, then you choose to avoid serious potential consequences, such as a car crash while driving drunk or damage to your internal organs, such as your liver.

Those are all active lifestyle choices that benefit your health.

Bad Lifestyle Factors

Of course, many choices also harm you. Just take the alcohol consumption example. If you choose to drink, especially in excess or at the wrong time, then you increase your risk of death from something like a car crash.

If you smoke, then you increase the chances that you get any number of different cancers, not just lung cancer. Other risky lifestyle factors and choices include the use of firearms, drug abuse, and unprotected sex.

Actually, one of the most important lifestyle factors that leads to premature death is obesity. Obesity, as a result of improper diet, exercise, or uncontrolled underlying disease processes, can cause everything from arthritis to heart disease to diabetes. All of which can lead to a very painful and, many times, shorter-than-usual lifespan.

Prevention Is Key

Many of the risk factors I described above don't kill or irreversibly hurt you right away, though. Most of these things, like alcohol and tobacco abuse, cause chronic damage. Chronic refers to something occurring over a long period of time or over and over again. This means that you can still help yourself, your health, mind, and body, by stopping a bad lifestyle choice today.

But regardless of whether these problems occur acutely (meaning suddenly and severely) or chronically, you'll agree with me that it's important that countries maintain the health and wellness of their citizens because a country's prosperity depends on it! If people in a country are sick, then they cannot work to full capacity. This means the nation's safety and economic health suffers. This makes a nation much weaker economically and militarily.

This is exactly why city, state, and national governments that care about their citizens are engaged in health promotion, defined by the World Health Organization as the process of enabling people to increase control over their health and its determinants and thereby improve their health.

A major part of health promotion is disease prevention. This refers to the process of providing knowledge and tools for people that enable them to protect their health.

This protection is accomplished by promoting healthy lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise modification, educating people about safe lifestyle choices such as safe sex, and by monitoring for new and developing threats to public health, such as new and emerging diseases. If they can be identified early, then it's more likely that they can be prevented in the majority of the population.

Two major U.S. agencies involved in monitoring for disease development, promoting public health, discouraging improper behavior, and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices are the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These agencies identify new and emerging threats to human health, patterns of disease spread, ways to combat this threat, ways to reduce risk factors for disease development, and much more.

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