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Published on January 01, 2019

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#TryItTuesday: The State of Your Health

Today is the start of a new year. Welcome, 2019!

In just a few weeks, we will hear the annual State of the Union message, which includes an update on the state of our country, its budget and an economic report of the nation. The address also allows the president to propose a legislative agenda and national priorities.

The State of Our Health

Like the State of the Union updates us on our country, the State of the Our Health includes an update on our current state of health, reminds us of preventive services we’ll need in the upcoming year, and helps us to set health priorities.

There are several components to assess when taking a look at the State of our Health. We need to look at the current state of our physical and mental health and are we up to date with our preventive services.

What is Your Current State of Health?

To assess your current state of health, here are some questions to review:

  • What is your current body mass index or BMI?
  • What is your blood pressure?
  • Are you getting at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (five hours) a week of moderate-intensity physical activity?
  • Are you doing muscle-strengthening activities of moderate or greater intensity and that involve all major muscle groups on two or more days a week?
  • When was your last dental visit?
  • When was the last time you had your vision checked?
  • When was your last visit to a health care provider for a general wellness checkup?

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, how would you rate yourself on the following:

  • Eating a healthy, nutritious diet
  • Limiting high-sugar, high-fat foods
  • Getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night

Preventive Services – Up to Date?

Given the rapidly aging U.S. population as a whole, increasing the use of preventive services by adults aged 50 or older is a key public health strategy. Despite the effectiveness of these potentially life-saving preventive services:

  • Only 25 percent of adults ages 50-64 are up to date on preventive services.
  • Less than 50 percent of adults aged 65 years or older are up to date.

Preventive Health Guidelines for Adults

Important note: Each person’s health needs are unique, please check with your health care provider for your specific preventive health recommendations.

BMI (body mass index)

In general, BMI is an inexpensive and easy-to-perform method of screening for weight category, for example underweight, normal or healthy weight, overweight, and obesity. You can find BMI tools online.

Individuals whose BMI indicates obesity are at increased risk for many diseases and health conditions, including the following:

  • All causes of death
  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Chronic inflammation and increased oxidative stress
  • Some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon, kidney, gallbladder and liver)
  • Low quality of life
  • Mental illness such as clinical depression and anxiety
  • Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Almost a third (31.3 percent) of U.S. adults have hypertension, but more than a fifth (22.4 percent) of adults with hypertension are unaware of their condition. Your care team will check your blood pressure when you go in for annual preventive visits.

Breast Cancer

The Avera Cancer Institute provides the recommendations for each of the cancers in this list. They suggest yearly mammograms for women age 40 and older. Consult with your provider to determine a screening schedule that is best for you.

Prostate Cancer

Men should discuss their need for screening with their provider, and for those who decide to proceed, PSA testing with or without digital rectal exam for men beginning at age 55 is recommended.

Cervical Cancer

Pap tests every three years for women ages 21-30 are the benchmark, and Pap tests plus HPV testing are recommended every five years for women ages 30-65.

You can stop cervical cancer screening at age 65 if you have had 10 years of normal Pap tests.

Colorectal Cancer

When men and women reach age 50, they should have a colonoscopy. Every 10 years after that -- or more often if a doctor recommends it -- is how often you should go back for this preventive and diagnostic exam. People who are age 75 or older should discuss the risks and benefits of this test with their providers.

Cholesterol and Diabetes

Check with your health care provider as to how often you should be screened for both of these important factors in health, which often involve a blood draw and lab results.


Beginning at age 50, talk with your provider about your need for bone health screening.

Assessing Mental Wellness

Mental wellness includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including: 

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • A family history of mental health problems

Among the considerations when it comes to assessing mental health are honestly responding to statements such as the ones below -- do you agree or disagree with these statements: 

  • I feel optimistic about the future.
  • My life is relatively stress-free.
  • I am able to develop and maintain close relationships.
  • I enjoy my life.
  • I feel good about myself.
  • I am able to recognize and express my feelings.

Remember, if you have any concerns about your mental health, contact your health care provider. 

How Did You Do?

When reviewing the State of Your Health, it’s important to celebrate your successes. You then can implement realistic plans to address areas where there's room for improvement.

If you are in need of some preventive services, visit your health care provider. If you are in need of some general well-being improvements such as eating a healthier diet, increasing your activity or better sleep habits, join us next week as we share a guide for setting and implementing well-being goals.

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Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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