Vilas County Public Health - Community Health - Chronic Disease Prevention

Chronic Disease Prevention

A chronic disease is one that lasts for at least three months. Chronic diseases generally cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication, and do not just go away on their own. Most Americans over 65 years of age have at least one chronic health condition.

Unhealthy cholces, such as using tobacco, lack of physical activity and poor eating habits, are major factors for the leading chronic diseases. The leading chronic diseases include (in alphabetical order):

  • Arthritis,
  • Cardiovascular disease (such as heart attacks and stroke),
  • Cancer (such as breast and colon cancer),
  • Diabetes,
  • Epilepsy and Seizures,
  • Obesity and
  • Oral health problems.

For more informaiton, visit the Center for Disease Control

How to prevent chronic diseases?

Eat healthy: A healthy diet can help protect you from heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Your body needs to get enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Eating healthy means eating a variety of the following every day:

  • Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products
  • Seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, seeds, and nuts

Eating healthy also means eating no or little of the following:

  • Cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugars
  • Trans fats, which may be in foods like cakes, cookies, stick margarines, and fried foods
  • Saturated fats, which come from animal products like cheese, fatty meats, whole milk, and butter
  • Foods made with refined grains, like white bread, noodles, white rice, and flour tortillas

Get tips here:

Physical activity is good for each of us! 

What kinds of activity should I do? To get all the health benefits of physical activity, do a combination of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.

  • Aerobic (“air-OH-bik”) activities make you breathe harder and cause your heart to beat faster. Walking fast is an example of aerobic activity.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities make your muscles stronger. Muscle-strengthening activities include lifting weights, using resistance bands, and doing push-ups.

If you are first starting, begin at a level you are comfortable with.  Once you get the hang of it, add a little more activity each time. Try to do at least 30 minutes every day.  If you are not able to, do what you can.  Any time can help!

For more information and tips: