Add up your totals and compare them to the chart above.
If your scores are excellent, congratulations! You're doing your best to lead a healthy life.
If your scores are good or fair, you are doing some things right, but could probably improve your health risks. Choose the category in which your score was lowest as a place to start. Here are some guidelines to help. Also, consult your doctor for advice. Nutrition ----------------
Nutrition and diet are very important factors in whether you develop cancer and cardiovascular disease. The National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association both recommend limiting intake of fat and cholesterol.
In addition, the following food guidelines are also suggested: Eat three to five servings of high-fiber foods per day. Consume cruciferous vegetables at least three times a week. Have at least one helping of citrus fruit a day.Increase the amount of complex carbohydrates in the diet -- and keep a tight rein on fat and protein -- by eating more whole grain bread, pasta, rice and beans.
And especially for women, dietary calcium is important. Excess calcium loss is related to osteoporosis, a degenerative bone disease that afflicts many elderly people (predominately women) in their later years, but seems preventable by adequate calcium intake.
Too much salt in the diet is related to high blood pressure for some people, which is related to a higher incidence of stroke. Too much sugar can help cause tooth decay and extra pounds.
Finally, diet and nutrition are crucial for both men and women in maintaining recommended body weight. Being overweight is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. Exercise
Exercise not only helps control stress but also reduces the risk of developing heart disease, by both helping to control weight and by increasing blood levels of HDL -- high density lipoprotein -- a cholesterol fragment that seems to help protect against heart disease. Load-bearing exercise also helps women build up bone mass, which decreases their risk of developing osteoporosis. Regular physical activity helps keep emotions on a steady, stable course. Smoking
Tobacco is responsible for the number one preventable disease in the United States today: lung cancer. But cigarettes also play a major role in heart disease and emphysema. Women who smoke during pregnancy raise the risk of having a miscarriage or a low-birth-weight baby. Use of pipes, cigars and chewing tobacco increase the risk of developing cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus.
In recent years, studies have pointed to passive smoke as a health risk. Thus, people who work or live with smokers may run an increased chance of also suffering health consquences from smoke in their environment. Alcohol and Drugs
Alcoholism afflicts an estimated 10 million Americans. Drug abuse is another major health problem. Both drug and alcohol abuse are associated with an increased risk of accidents, absenteeism from work and school, and with violence, particularly in the home.
Women who drink while pregnant risk giving birth to a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome, a set of symptoms including small brain and head, reduced intelligence and slow growth. If the mother uses certain drugs, such as methodone and heroin, the child can be born addicted. Safety
Accidents are still the number one cause of death in the United States for people under age 35. Yet some fairly simple steps -- wearing a seat belt, not drinking and driving, wearing a protective helmet on a motorcycle or moped -- can help cut some of the accident risks. So can other measures, such as learning how to swim, and wearing appropriate reflective safety clothing when riding a bicycle or walking at night. Family History
The best guarantee for good health, the saying goes, is to pick the right parents. Since no one can do that, health experts recommend that people become aware of risks that run in their families. It may not be possible to avoid developing the high blood pressure that afflicts your father, uncle and sister, but if you know they have it, it might be possible to help control a tendency toward high blood pressure with diet, exercise, weight control and relaxation therapy. Behavior
Type A behavior is associated with a significantly increased risk of heart attack. Stress management and learning how to modify Type A behavior can help reduce some of the health risks associated with this personality. There is also growing scientific evidence that it may be the anger and hostility components of Type A behavior that are so damaging to the health. Personal Health
Prevention is one of the keys to long-term good health, experts say, but it takes some planning. Among the check-ups recommended are: Regular visits to the dentist. For women, regular pap smears and breast exams both at home and in the doctor's office. For men, regular testicular and prostate exams. For those over 40, regular tests for blood in stools. Regular eye exams and tests for glaucoma.
It's also important to know and monitor blood pressure and keep track of serum levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and -- less frequently -- fasting blood sugar. Immunizations need to be kept up at various intervals throughout adulthood. It is advised, for instance, that adults get booster shots of tetanus and diphtheria every 10 years.