America’s most significant health care challenge?

America’s most significant health care challenge?

HIV? Cancer? Heart disease? Zika? What do you think is the most significant health care challenge in the U.S.?

A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic revealed that Americans believe cancer is in fact the country’s most significant health care challenge. While Zika was a hot topic in the news for much of 2016, infectious diseases, including Zika, Ebola and HIV/AIDS were ranked as the least important health care challenges. Those concerns in the middle include obesity, neurological diseases, diabetes and heart disease.

Yet, the survey also found that nearly 75 percent of respondents believed that some progress was being made to address cancer; the highest number, 83 percent, felt progress was being made for heart disease, while only 52 percent selected that progress was being made with obesity.

The survey was conducted as part of the Mayo Clinic National Health Checkup, which started in January 2016 as a way to provide a brief snapshot, or pulse, of consumer health opinions and behaviors at different times throughout the year.

“At Mayo Clinic, we feel that we have a responsibility to help lead the conversation about health and wellness, and empower people to make healthy choices. This research helps to shape that dialogue,” said Dr. John T. Walk, medical director for public affairs and Mayo Clinic.

While it’s not possible to prevent all types of cancers, Dr. Prashant Joshi, an oncologist with Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago, Ill, says patients can make lifestyle changes which may help decrease risk. “Diet, exercise and good, healthy living goes a long way to decrease many cancers,’’ says Dr. Joshi, who suggests patients:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables and less processed food to keep chemicals to a minimum.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise five or more days of the week.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking cigarettes significantly increases risk of various types of cancers.
  • If you drink, only consume alcohol in moderation. Dr. Joshi says excessive alcohol increases risk of certain cancers, including breast and colon.
  • Just 10 minutes of meditation a day has been shown to reduce anxiety and inflammatory processes in the body.

And, according to Dr. Marlon Everett, an interventional cardiologist with the Advocate Heart Institute at Trinity Hospital, these same lifestyle changes can decrease the risk for heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.