Press Release

December 23, 2008


State public health director suggests giving the gift of health for the holidays

Prevention is the best medicine for good health

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Damon T. Arnold, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, reminds people about the importance of taking care of their health during the holiday season.

“Give yourself the gift of health this holiday season. This time of year can be stressful as we get caught up in shopping and celebrations and we can forget to eat right, exercise and take care of our health in general. But the holidays don’t have to take a toll on your health if you take a few steps to manage your stress, eat healthy, be active and get regular check-ups,” said Dr. Arnold.

The Illinois Department of Public health has the following recommendations to help you stay healthy and prevent illness.

  • Eat healthy and be active: With balance and moderation, you can enjoy a healthy holiday season. Substitute fresh fruit for those sweet treats and try to choose just one or two of your holiday favorites from the table of tempting foods. Make sure you continue to exercise and stay active. To make activity fun you can dance at parties or take a walk to view the lights and decorations.

  • Manage stress: Practice time management, don’t over-commit yourself to hosting parties, shopping, cooking, baking or attending celebrations and don’t over-spend. Balance work, home and play and look to your family and friends for support.

  • Check-ups and vaccinations: Exams and routine screenings can help find problems early when the chances for treatment and a cure are better. Make sure your vaccinations, and your children’s are up to date – they prevent disease and save lives. Get a yearly exam to check blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and more. Resolve in the New Year to schedule routine screenings such as a prostate exam, a mammography or colon cancer screening. Getting check-ups is one of many things you can do to help stay healthy and prevent disease and disability.

  • Family history: As you gather with family to celebrate the holidays, talk with family members about health problems that seem to run in the family. Sharing health information can help you learn about diseases that are inherited, how your lifestyle may affect your risk for these diseases and what things you can do now that could possibly prevent developing the same condition in the future.

  • Health behaviors: Drink alcohol in moderation - there are tendencies to drink more around the holidays. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends no more than one drink a day – one 12-ounce beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits. Quit smoking and avoid being around people who are smoking.

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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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