Assortment of colorful ripe tropical fruits. Top view How To Stay Healthy.

 Eight healthy behaviors can go a long way toward improving your health and lowering your risk of many cancers as well as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis. And they’re not as complicated as you might think. 

Eight healthy behaviors can go a long way toward improving your health and lowering your risk of many cancers as well as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis. And they’re not as complicated as you might think.

So take control of your health, and encourage your family to do the same. Choose one or two behaviors to start with. Once you’ve got those down, move on to the others.

1 Maintain a Healthy Weight

Keeping your weight in check is often easier said

than done, but a few simple tips can help. First off, if you’re overweight, focus on not gaining any more weight. This by itself can improve your health. Then, when you’re ready, try to take off some extra pounds for an even greater health boost.


  • Fit physical activity and movement into your life each
  • Limit time in front of the TV and
  • Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole
  • Choose smaller portions, and eat more  

2 Exercise Regularly

 While it can be hard to find the time, it’s important to fit in at least 30 minutes of activity every day. More is even better, but any amount is better than none.

 Tips • Choose activities you enjoy. Many things count as exercise, like walking, gardening, and dancing. • Make exercise a habit by setting aside the same time for it each day—try going to the gym each day at lunchtime or taking a walk regularly after dinner. • Stay motivated by exercising with someone. • Play active games with your kids regularly, and go on family walks and bike rides when the weather allows.


3 Don’t Smoke

Yes, it’s hard, but it’s also far from impossible. Over 1,000 Americans stop for good every day. Tips • Keep trying! It often takes 6 or 7 tries before you quit for good. • Talking to a doctor can double your chances of success. • Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit for help. • When appropriate, talk to your kids about the dangers of smoking and chewing tobacco. The best message to kids is getting smoke-free yourself.

4 Eat a Healthy Diet

The basics of healthy eating are pretty simple. You should focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and keep red meat and processed meat to a minimum. It’s also important to cut back on bad fats (saturated and trans fats), and choose healthy fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) more often. Taking a multivitamin with folate every day is a great nutrition insurance policy. Tips • Make fruits and vegetables a part of every meal. Put fruit on your cereal. Eat vegetables as a snack. • Choose chicken, fish, or beans, instead of red meat. • Choose whole-grain cereal, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread over their more refined choices. • Choose dishes made with olive or canola oil, which are high in healthy fats. • Cut back on fast food and store-bought snacks (like cookies), which are high in bad fats. • Buy a 100% DV multivitamin that contains folate.

5 Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation,

If At All Moderate drinking is good for the heart, but it can also increase the risk of cancer. If you don’t drink, don’t feel that you need to start. If you already drink moderately (less than 1 drink a day for women, less than 2 drinks a day for men), there’s probably no reason to stop. People who drink more, though, should cut back. Tips • Choose non-alcoholic beverages at meals and parties. • Avoid occasions centered around alcohol. • Talk to a health care professional if you feel you have a problem with alcohol. • When appropriate, discuss the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse with children. A health care professional or school counselor can help

6 Protect Yourself From the Sun and Avoid Tanning Beds

While the warm sun is certainly inviting, too much exposure to it can lead to skin cancer, including serious melanoma. And tanning beds can be just as harmful. Skin damage starts early in childhood, so it’s especially important to protect children. Tips • Steer clear of direct sunlight between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (peak burning hours). It’s the best way to protect yourself. • Use hats, long-sleeve shirts, and sunscreens with SPF30 or higher. • Don’t use sun lamps or tanning booths. • Protect kids first and set a good example by always wearing sunscreen and the right clothing.

7 Protect Against Sexually Transmitted Infections

Among other problems, sexually transmitted infections—like human papillomavirus (HPV)—are linked to a number of different cancers. Protecting yourself from these infections can lower your risk. Getting girls and boys vaccinated against HPV will lower their cancer risk later in life. Tips • Get boys and girls vaccinated against HPV at 11 or 12 years old. Older kids can also be vaccinated. Talk to a health care provider. • Aside from not having sex, the best protection is to be in a committed, monogamous relationship with someone who does not have a sexually transmitted infection. • For all other situations, be sure to always use a condom and follow other safe sex practices. Never rely on your partner to have a condom. Always be prepared. • When appropriate, discuss with children the importance of abstinence and safe sex.

8 Get Screening Tests

There are a number of important screening tests that can help protect against cancer. Some of these tests find cancer when it’s most treatable, while others can actually help keep cancer from developing in the first place. For colorectal cancer alone, regular screening could save over 30,000 lives each year. That’s three times the number of people killed by drunk drivers in the United States in all of 2014. Talk to a health care professional about which tests you should have and when. Cancers that should be tested for regularly: • Colon and rectal cancer • Cervical cancer • Breast cancer • Lung cancer (in current or past heavy smokers)