January 2023 Top Health News from Alliant Insurance ServicesJanuary 01, 2023
From Lifespan to HealthspanBy Cara Rosenbloom, RD
Our lifespan is defined as the number of years we’re alive. In the U.S., the average is about 77 years. But living for longer is not the only goal you should focus on. It’s also vital to think about your healthspan as the period of life spent in good health. That means we don’t just live long; we live well.
Of course, the term health is subjective, and many people live with chronic diseases but still feel well most days or ably manage their conditions. As science and medicine make it possible for people to live longer, interest has grown in how to age well. That means preserving your physical and mental health now to maximize your quality of life as you age.
Life expectancy has increased, but healthspan has not followed. It’s largely impeded by chronic diseases that affect older adults. The World Health Organization has developed an indicator called the Healthy Life Expectancy (HALE). It measures the average incidence and age when diagnosed with the most common serious diseases
(diabetes, heart disease, etc.) and places it at 63 years old, which means we may live up to 20% of our lives unhealthy, since lifespan often outruns healthspan.
What can you do to improve your healthspan? Many lifestyle changes, such as eating better, more activity, less stress and more sleep, could delay the onset of chronic diseases and help expand lifespan. Social and intellectual activities are also important determinants of your healthspan.
Start by figuring out where you can make small improvements. For example, do you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, such as brisk walking? Do you eat vegetables daily? Do you choose water more often than sugary soda? Small changes can add up and help improve your healthspan.Contact:Katja Isham, Account Associatekatja.firstname.lastname@example.org, (949) 681-9052
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