The Cause of Chronic Disease – Part 3

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Lifestyle choices are at the root cause of chronic disease. The World Health Organization indicates physical inactivity and lack of exercise is 1 of the 10 leading risk factors for death worldwide. Other factors contributing to chronic disease are poor nutritional dietary choices, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

A publication in the Journal of American College of Cardiology demonstrated that among 20,721 men who were followed for 11 years those that avoided smoking, consumed an abundance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, had moderate alcohol consumption, exercised regularly, had very little belly fat, had an 86 percent lower risk of heart attack compared with those that did not demonstrate these conditions.

Research suggests that at least 30% of cancers can be prevented by consuming an abundance of fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed meats, beef and pork, avoiding smoking and tobacco products, exercising regularly, eliminating alcohol and keeping body weight in a healthy range.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2011, 36% of adolescents and 38% of adults said they ate fruit less than once a day, while 38% of adolescents and 23% of adults said they ate vegetables less than once a day. Additionally in 2012 more than 42 million adults or 1 in 5 indicated they currently smoked cigarettes, while 38 million adults reported binge drinking an average of 4 times a month. Research has correlated these behaviors with chronic disease which leaves little doubt that lifestyle choices are a major factor.

Research from the journal Preventing Chronic Disease reported that 46 percent of Americans over age 50 engage in no leisure-time activity and only 8 percent of Americans over age 50 meet the criteria for including both aerobic and strength training activity into their lifestyle. The repercussions of lack of exercise and poor dietary choices have led to a national obesity epidemic along with its many associated diseases.

Physical therapists are in a unique profession where we can work on encouraging our patients in making behavioral changes by introducing healthy living habits.

The Economic Drain of Chronic Disease – Part 2
Addressing Chronic Disease as a Physical Therapist – Part 4

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Jeff Gilliam PT PhD, OCS: is a weight loss specialist, who has studied extensively in the areas of health behavior, exercise physiology and nutritional biochemistry at the University of Florida. Jeff has taught a course at the University of Florida called ’Research Applications to Obesity and Weight Loss’. He has also taught courses for the DPT program at UF in Health Promotion and Wellness’ and ‘Evidence Based Practice III’. He has presented on a national level on topics related to diseases related to obesity and changing behavior to facilitate a healthy lifestyle. His PhD research was in the area of effective behavioral interventions for obesity and its associated diseases. He is founder of Physicians’ Choice for Weight Loss, a successful lifestyle/weight loss program, which can be found in over 50 clinics in the eastern US. He currently is clinical director of ReQuest Physical Therapy (Gainesville, Florida) and incorporates his lifestyle/weight loss program into his patients’ physical therapy to help them achieve their healthiest body weight. Jeff Gilliam is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties

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