I'm a Doctor and Beg You Stop Making This "Deadly" Mistake

·3 min read

When it comes to your long-term health, prevention is better than cure. "Studies continuously show that the way we live is linked to our risk of chronic disease," says Bethany Agusala, M.D. "For example, data show that behavior changes could prevent 80% of heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes, and 40% of cancer diagnoses." Here are five things your doctor wants you to stop doing, immediately. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Sitting Down For Hours and Hours

eating junk food and watching tv
eating junk food and watching tv

Sitting for several hours of the day (particularly when it's binge-watching TV compared to sitting at a desk) is incredibly bad for your health, experts warn. "We found that not all types of sedentary behavior are created equal and that maybe we should focus more on decreasing television viewing than focusing on occupational sitting," says Jennette Garcia, an assistant professor of sport and exercise science at the University of Central Florida.

2

Beware of Dangerous Supplements

Many over the counter supplements are not vetted by the FDA, and weight loss supplements containing amphetamine-like ingredients are amongst the most dangerous. "Everyone is always trying to seek that magic pill. It's just trying to sell you the dream but at such a detrimental, dangerous cost," says registered dietitian, nutritionist, and certified personal trainer Jennifer Trevino.

3

Don't Ignore Weight Gain

weight gain
weight gain

Over 41% of US adults are obese, according to the CDC—so when you first notice weight creeping up, deal with it immediately. "The first 5 pounds of weight gain at age 25—that's the time to be taking action," says Walter Willett, Frederick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard Chan. "Because someone is on a trajectory to end up being 30 pounds overweight by the time they're age 50."

4

Skipping COVID-19 Boosters

woman being vaccinated
woman being vaccinated

Are you fully vaccinated against COVID-19? If the answer is "yes" but you are behind on your booster shots, you are actually not fully protected. "There was a huge push to get people fully vaccinated, which was the two doses, but not as big of a push for the booster," says Katrine Wallace, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois Chicago. "A lot of people just don't understand that the booster is now available to everybody."

5

Doctors Really, Really Don't Want You To Smoke

stop smoking
stop smoking

Smoking is responsible for one out of five deaths in the US every year, according to the CDC—that's more than 480,000 deaths annually. However bad you think smoking is for your health, it's probably much worse than you know, doctors warn. "The smoking epidemic is still ongoing, and there is a need to evaluate how smoking is hurting us as a society, to support clinicians and policy making in public health," says Brian D. Carter, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society. "It's not a done story."

6

How to Stay Safe Out There

A mid adult woman protects herself by placing an N95 face mask over her nose and mouth.
A mid adult woman protects herself by placing an N95 face mask over her nose and mouth.

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.