CDC: Not enough Americans are practicing these 5 healthy habits

New research of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer is adding to the mounting evidence that patients who are overweight have a greater chance of surviving certain types of cancers. (Thinkstock)
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of five healthy behaviors the Centers for Disease Control states is important to living a prolonged life. Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and an associate professor of international health, says that a lack of sleep is one reason why Americans sometimes gain weight as it often leaves you tired to exercise or look for healthy eating options. (Thinkstock)

Exercise may be even better for you than previously thought. (Thinkstock)
Engaging in exercise is a habit that should be a part of your regular healthy behaviors, according to the CDC, and helps with preventing disease and prolonging your life. (Thinkstock)

Cigarette, Smoke, Ashtray
Not smoking is one of the important healthy habits outlined by the CDC, which they say helps to prevent heart disease and lung cancer significantly. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, mixed drinks sit on a hotel bar in San Francisco. Government researchers say "deplorably" few college students are warned by doctors about dangers from alcohol and drugs or encouraged to cut down or abstain, according to a study published Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, in JAMA Pediatrics. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
Cutting out or limiting alcohol is one of the five healthy behaviors that the CDC says will help to prevent disease and prolong your life. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

The study finds that sleeping on your side can clear your brain of the junk that is linked to Alzheimer's. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/4774344sean)
Getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep a day is one of the healthy habits outlined by the CDC. A lack of sleep has been linked to issues with the immune system. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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New research of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer is adding to the mounting evidence that patients who are overweight have a greater chance of surviving certain types of cancers. (Thinkstock)
Exercise may be even better for you than previously thought. (Thinkstock)
Cigarette, Smoke, Ashtray
FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, mixed drinks sit on a hotel bar in San Francisco. Government researchers say "deplorably" few college students are warned by doctors about dangers from alcohol and drugs or encouraged to cut down or abstain, according to a study published Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, in JAMA Pediatrics. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
The study finds that sleeping on your side can clear your brain of the junk that is linked to Alzheimer's. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/4774344sean)

WASHINGTON — Many Americans know what is needed to achieve a healthy lifestyle, but very few actually do it.

The Centers for Disease Control is out with a new study that shows only 6.3 percent of Americans engage in all five of the healthy behaviors that are believed to prevent disease and prolong life.

These habits include maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular exercise, not smoking, cutting out or limiting alcohol, and getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep a day.

CDC researchers compiled data on almost 400,000 Americans who took part in a national survey in 2013.

They found most participants engaged in two or three of the healthy behaviors, but only a handful did all five.

“It is not surprising,” said Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and an associate professor of international health.

He said, in essence, modern life is making it tough to meet all these lifestyle goals. Americans need more walkable communities, access to fresh fruits and vegetables, less sedentary workplaces and — the real biggie — less stress.

Lee explained that all five of these habits of a healthy lifestyle are interconnected, and stress can create a dangerous domino effect. Too much stress can lead someone to drink or smoke and has been proven to disrupt sleep patterns. Also, if you lose enough sleep, you could be too tired to exercise or look for healthy eating options.

“If one is not working, other things start to become a problem,” Lee explained, adding that we have to tackle all of the underlying causes of unhealthy lifestyles before we can really bring up the number of Americans who are meeting the five CDC criteria.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Smoking has been linked to heart disease and lung cancer, while obesity and overweight up the risk of coming down with not just heart problems, but also diabetes and other cancers. Meanwhile, research is linking lack of sleep to issues with the immune system.

Lee said that a lack of adherence to healthy lifestyles is costing this country in terms of public health, productivity and rising medical bills. He said the nation needs to understand the severity of problem, explaining that once we get a sense of urgency, change will come.

This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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