It is sad to thing of how many deaths in this country can be prevented. An article published in the Journal of Public Library of Science Medicine, estimates nearly 2 million deaths each year in the United States are due to preventable and modifiable risk factors. Smoking, hypertension, overweight and diabetes are at the top of the list.

What is a Modifiable Risk Factor?

Modifiable simple means something that can be changed. This doesn’t always mean easy but does mean doable.  In mortality prevention, there are many modifiable risk factors including:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Inadequate exercise  
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Insufficient omega-3 fatty acid intake and high trans-fat diet intake
  • Low vegetable and fruit intake

All of these modifiable risk factors can lead to diseases such as:

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Elevated lipids
  • Myocardial infarction or heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Cancer

To have hundreds of thousands of premature deaths caused by these modifiable risk factors is shocking and should motivate a serious look at our public health system which is not currently focusing on the right set of interventions. I believe each of us has to find our own health by focusing on the following:

  • Eat organic and as natural as possible.
  • Avoid junk foods, highly processed foods and sugary drinks
  • Avoid fast foods
  • Cook larger portions at home and eat leftovers.
  • Exercise
  • Stop smoking. No one needs to tell a smoker that cigarettes are bad for them. Helping that person find the motivation to quit is helpful.

We all want to live longer and enjoy life. Don’t be one of the preventable deaths in this country.

Keep it simple. Little changes at improving your health can make big differences. Remember, you eat an elephant one bite at a time!! 

Live Long, Live Healthy! 

Dr. Julie Wood is a Nurse Practitioner and has been serving the Middle Tennessee area for more than 30 years, specializing in adults with obesity, prediabetes and diabetes. Office is located at 401 First Avenue, Mt. Pleasant, TN and statewide with telehealth. Dr. Wood can be reached at 931-325-5560,,  

Articles are meant to be informative and should never replace the advice of your health care provider.