'Healthy Citizens are the greatest asset any country can have' --Winston Churchill
The "Hearts and Minds" initiative takes aim at risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and obesity for major illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Living a healthy lifestyle has many benefits-not all physical. When everything is working together-when your body and your mind are strong-you have more energy and self-confidence and can take more control of your life. for people who live with mental illnesses, a healthy lifestyle is especially important. Sometimes, it is easy to become so focused on treating a mental illness that physical health is neglected. But having a healthy body contributes to emotional recovery. Eating the right foods, exercising, finding ways to manage stress, getting enough rest and having friends and activities that you enjoy are all part of healthy living.
Research has demonstrated that people living with severe psychiatric conditions may have an increased risk of heart disease and related conditions. For this reason NAMI has designed the Hearts & Minds program. The information contained in the Hearts and Minds booklet and DVD can assist you as you look at your total well-being. “Too often, the medical profession and society focus on mental illness alone—which may stigmatize a person. Any individual living with a mental illness needs to be treated as a whole person,“ said NAMI medical director Ken Duckworth, M.D., who narrates the video. The Hearts & Minds program supports self-management of chronic illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia through a comprehensive approach that focuses on whole body health, including diet, exercise, and smoking cessation.
“You should never have to choose between a healthy mind and a healthy body,” says a woman in the video. “Everything has to work together in order for you to be well. You have to take care of yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet.”
People with mental illnesses are more prone to die from heart disease than the general population. This is due to higher levels of smoking, diabetes, poor diet and inactivity, all things that people have control over, but pose greater challenges when mental illness is involved.
NAMI National Hearts and Minds website, www.nami.org/heartsandminds
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We all need nutrition to support our bodies. A poor diet equals poor health, contributing to obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes - conditions that many people living with mental illness are at a high risk of developing. Nutrition is important for everyone. If you are living with mental illness, eating well is especially important for you, because what you eat can affect your daily life, mood and energy level. Healthy eating is not about being thin or deprivation. Healthy eating is about feeling good, having more energy, participating in your recovery and mapping out your future. Simply put, healthy eating is one of the best things you can do to improve wellness. Dietary guidelines set by the USDA state that a healthy diet is one that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat free or low fat milk products. A healthy diet should include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts. Be sure to limit saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars. Lear more about the U.S. government's guidlelines by reveiwing the food pyramid: mypyramid.gov.