Healthy Living Priorities
A culture of healthy behaviors is essential to readiness and maintaining a healthy community. Leading a healthy lifestyle, physically, mentally, socially and spiritually, plays an important role in the overall preparedness of our nation’s warriors and the families who support them. In addition to a fit, healthy and protected force the Defense Department is dedicated to the health and resilience of individuals and families throughout the military community.
Engaging in regular physical activity is one of the most important things that people of all ages can do to improve their health. Physical activity strengthens bones and muscles, reduces stress and depression, and makes it easier to maintain a healthy body weight or to reduce weight if overweight or obese. Even people who do not lose weight get substantial benefits from regular physical activity, including the management of high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. Healthy physical activity includes aerobic activity, muscle strengthening activities and activities to increase balance and flexibility.
Eating healthy can help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, and several types of cancer, as well as help maintain a healthy body weight. Eating healthy means consuming a variety of nutritious foods and beverages, especially vegetables, fruits, low and fat-free dairy products, and whole grains; limiting intake of saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium; keeping trans fat intake as low as possible; and balancing caloric intake with calories burned to manage body weight. Safe eating means ensuring that food is free from harmful contaminants, such as bacteria and viruses.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the United States. Living tobacco-free reduces a person’s risk of developing heart disease, various cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, periodontal disease, asthma and other diseases, and of dying prematurely. Tobacco-free living means avoiding use of all types of tobacco products — including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, pipes and hookahs — and also living free from secondhand smoke exposure. Learn more about tobacco addiction »
Mental and Emotional Well-Being
Mental and emotional well-being is essential to overall health. Positive mental health allows people to realize their full potential, cope with the stresses of life, work productively and make meaningful contributions to their communities. Anxiety, mood and impulse control disorders are associated with a higher probability of risk behaviors, intimate partner and family violence, many other chronic and acute conditions and premature death. Early childhood experiences have lasting, measurable consequences later in life; therefore, fostering emotional well-being from the earliest stages of life helps build a foundation for overall health and well-being. Learn more about mental health »