Stay healthy: advice for the harried executive.

Author:Cole, Stacy
Position:Health - Brief Article - Statistical Data Included

Somewhere between meetings, late nights at the office and rushed lunches, today's executive has to find time to stay healthy. Fortunately, the tools exist to catch health problems before they become problems.

"Why is all this important?" asks Dr. Michael Busk, medical and research director for the National Institute for Fitness and Sport, director of the corporate executive physical program with the Indiana University Medical Group and IU School of Medicine professor. "It's going to pay off dividends."

Busk notes that sedentary lifestyles and poor diets account for 20 to 28 percent of causes of death, and a few simple things could reduce that.

"In your 40s, nobody feels bad but you're doing damage that can't be undone that shows up 15 years down the road," says Dr. Brant Sanders of St. Mary's Health Care Services in Evansville. "As soon as possible, everyone should make their lives as healthy as they can."

Dr. Debbie R. Wright of the Arnett Clinic, associated with the Lafayette Heart Institute, says that taking care of oneself can be simple. "What people really need to do is use a lot of common sense and look at their risk factors," which include smoking, diabetes history, cholesterol, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and hypertension.

"You need proper nutrition, the proper amount of sleep--the body needs eight hours a night--the proper amount of relaxation, a good physical activity or exercise program which helps to relieve stress," Busk says. "We're talking about a balanced lifestyle."

A balanced diet is important for living that balanced lifestyle. Busk recommends limiting sugar intake and eating more fruits and vegetables. "What's important is keeping to a good low-fat diet or to follow the American Heart Association diet, when 30 percent of your total fat calories comes from that," he says.

However, sometimes doing the basics to stay healthy isn't enough. Busk suggests that certain physical exams are performed for men and women once they reach a certain age. Men should begin receiving prostate screening at about age 50 and women should begin with baseline mammography at about 40. Both men and women should begin colon screening at about 50 if they have a family history of colon cancer.

Sanders of St. Mary's says it is important to consider family history of all diseases when getting preventive testing done. "I feel pretty confident that through a careful and thorough history and physical, we could discover risk factors and keep an edge on...

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