Many chronic diseases are brought on by factors under our control. These include:
Tobacco use: Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the US. Each year 480,000 people die from smoking cigarettes with an additional 41,000 dying from secondhand smoke exposure.
Poor nutrition: Diets in the United States tend to be high in added sugars, sodium, and saturated fats, which can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. Fewer than 1 in 10 adults and adolescents living in the US meet their requirements for fruits and vegetables.
Lack of physical activity: Only 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 5 high school students in the US get the recommended levels of physical activity. Lack of activity combined with poor nutrition can lead to obesity. 40% of US adults have obesity, which puts them at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, heart failure, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers (primarily endometrial, colorectal, and breast cancer). Additionally, obesity costs the US health care system $147 billion each year.
Excessive alcohol consumption: Excessive use of alcohol can lead to serious health problems such as alcohol use disorder and problems with learning, memory, and mental health. Chronic health conditions linked to excessive alcohol consumption include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and cancer.