What Are Modifiable Risk Factors?


At the beginning of the 20th century, the most common health problems in the Western world were infectious diseases such as diphtheria, tuberculosis, polio, influenza and other diseases. These health problems are all classified under communicable diseases (infectious). Significant breakthroughs in the medical field have reduced occurrence of these diseases.

Today, non-communicable (non-infectious and chronic) diseases are on an increasing trend. This is where modifiable risk factors weigh in. Modifiable risk factors are things that we can change whereas non-modifiable risk factors are things that we cannot change such as genetics. In our modern era, many of us began to enjoy the “good life” (alcohol, sedentary lifestyle, fatty foods, excessive sweets, tobacco, drugs). This “good life” is the modifiable risk factors that have been mismanaged. In an ideal sense of speaking, good management of modifiable risk factors includes healthy lifestyle and regular exercises.  As we already know, chronic diseases such as coronary heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, atherosclerosis, and stroke are all almost incurable and it spans for the rest of our lives.

Prevention is the best medicine. It has come to a realization that good health is mostly self-controlled and that the leading causes of premature mortality and morbidity can be prevented by positive lifestyle habits.

A few methods to guarantee a healthy lifestyle includes engaging in regular exercise or physical activity, maintaining recommended body weight, balancing the diet, getting sufficient sleep, minimizing exposure to environmental contaminants, avoiding unprotected sexual activity, managing stress in a healthy way and exercising confidence, avoiding harmful drugs (including smoking and excessive alcohol), seeking medical attention as needed, affection, and friendliness.

Did you know that the human needs activity and movement to develop, grow, and maintain health?

It is highly recommended that an average human adult carry out at least 30 minutes of exercise per day for most days in a week. This will not only give health benefits, but also lower risk of common chronic lifestyle diseases and illnesses, increase muscle tone, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and strengthen bones and joints.

Exercise is defined as a subset of physical activity whereby structured, planned, repetitive movement of the body created specifically to maintain physical fitness and improve one’s health.

Physical fitness is termed as a set of physical attributes that enables the body to adapt to the stress and demands of physical effort. Fitness is highly dependent on physiological factors such as the heart’s capability to pump blood and the size of muscle fibers. Only through exercise will one improve fitness significantly.

The World Health Organization (WHO) highly recommends that for a healthy body, we must include a moderate amount of exercise on most days of the week if not all. (Fit and Well 6th Edition 2005).

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