A 2002 study published in "The New England Journal of Medicine" found that lack of fitness is a better predictor of death among men than all other established risk factors for heart diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, also states that healthy eating and nutrition habits can lower your risk for certain cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Improving your physical fitness and your nutrition will increase your chances of preventing these and other chronic diseases.
The CDC reports that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, risk factors for heart disease that can be modified healthy lifestyle changes are physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and diabetes. Increasing fitness and improving nutrition habits can have a positive impact on all of these heart disease risk factors.
Dr. Walter Willett, Chair of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, says you can reduce the risk of developing some types of cancer--including cancers of the mouth, stomach, bladder, colon, breast and prostate--by eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables. Willett also says that a lack of physical activity can increase your risk for cancer. A healthy diet and better fitness can't provide full immunity from cancer, but they can provide increased protection.
Stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancers. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke affects the arteries to and within the brain. The American Stroke Association also reports a poor diet and physical inactivity can lead to an increased risk of stroke.
High Blood Pressure
A 2010 study published in "The American Journal of Hypertension" found that a healthy lifestyle, including physical activity, reduces the risk of developing high BP According to the CDC, high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and you can help prevent high blood pressure by eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and avoiding highly processed sodium-filled foods.
Regular physical activity and an improved diet can have a positive impact on mental health. In 2003, a study published in "Preventive Medicine" found that regular physical activity is associated with decreased symptoms of depression, panic attacks and anxiety. Also, Dr. William Sears, author of "The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood," says some foods can improve mood in both children and adults. These foods include fruits, vegetables, salmon and eggs.