9 New Year Health Resolutions for a Healthier and Happier Year Ahead
4 min read
Everyone wants to live longer, healthier lives. The only way to achieve this is by taking a proactive attitude towards your health. Start off with our top 9 health resolutions for the New Year!
New Year Resolution 1 - Schedule a Teeth Cleaning
Did you know that 97.5% of adults between ages 35 and 44 in Hong Kong have had a history of teeth decay? We recommend scheduling in a teeth cleaning and exam early on in the year. Seeing a dentist yearly or even every 6 months, will help detect problems for oral health that lasts a lifetime.
For children, it is usually advised to see the dentist as soon as their first teeth come out. To understand what is happening, age 2-3 years old can be their first full check-up. Read more about kids dental health in Healthy Matters’ interview with Dr. Carrie Tse.
New Year Resolution 2 - Get Your Eyes Checked
According to the government student health service, about 17% of P.1 students in Hong Kong are short-sighted and the percentage increases to a shocking 53% by P.6. Eye exams help to detect eye diseases at their early stages. Regular eye exams give your eye care professional an opportunity to identify vision changes and correct them.
Experts recommend that adults have an eye exam every one to two years. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, have a family history of eye disease, or have other chronic diseases that may put your eyes at risk, you need to check your eyes more regularly.
New Year Resolution 3 – Schedule a General Health Check-up
Body checks help you identify problems before they start. Checking in with a doctor to assess your health means signs of disease can be caught and treated early. Most non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are most preventable and much less fatal in their early stages. Blood tests can also help identify deficiencies and food allergies, which is an opportunity to correct them through diet or supplements.
While in Hong Kong there is debate amongst physicians as to how often physical examinations should be provided in the public sector, many countries recommend an annual check-up. Read more about this in Body checks at Every Age | What You Should Know About Your Options in Hong Kong.
New Year Resolution 4 – Check Your Health Insurance Coverage to Avoid Bad Surprises
If you plan to use the private sector in Hong Kong, it is highly recommended to have good medical coverage. Hong Kong’s private health system is one of the most expensive in the world. If you have health insurance, check now if you understand what is covered and what is not.
If you are unfamiliar with this territory, need someone to explain your current coverage or need insurance, we recommend getting assistance from our partners Alea. They are healthcare advisors and provide medical insurance solutions for yourself, your family or your team.
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New Year Resolution 5 – Test Your DNA for Health Insights
With genetic testing you can identify genes that cause cancer and other genetic diseases early on. Can’t make it into a specialist? There are now easy-to-use genetic testing kits on the market that will not only screen for common cancer genes but can even test what kind of food and exercise your body requires for optimal health or weight management.
New to the market in Hong Kong is Circle DNA which offers DNA testing with a simple swab of saliva. Circle DNA offers 2 packages: DNA testing focused on diet and fitness and DNA testing focused on eight common cancers, including breast, ovarian, and colorectal to name a few.
New Year Resolution 6 - Eat More Plant-based Foods, Help the Environment
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime. It is now well-known that animal agriculture plays a major role in it. In fact, animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissionswhich is more than the combined exhaust from all transportation on the planet!
Aside from its environmental implications, major health concerns have recently come to light and people become more conscious of what they put into their bodies. By integrating more plants into your diet you will not only significantly reduce your carbon footprint but also move towards a healthier diet and life in general.
New Year Resolution 7 – Learn How to Manage Stress
In today's world and especially in the fast-paced city of Hong Kong, stress is part of our life. Not only does stress create physical, psychological and behavioral problems but it can also be a catalyst for diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. In fact, in Hong Kong, diabetes has increased from 0.5% for those aged 25-34 to 25.4% for those aged 65-84 (Population Health Survey conducted by the Department of Health).
By learning ‘active’ techniques to manage stress, you can significantly lower its impacts on your wellbeing while also helping you live a happier life. Easy techniques to get started include getting regular exercise, learning breathing and yoga, meditation, or getting regular massages or physical therapy. Eating healthy, lessening alcohol, tobacco and caffeine help as well! Socialize with friends and family and make sure to get time for hobbies. If you feel you cannot manage stress on your own, speak with a counsellor or therapist.
New Year Resolution 8 – Try Alternative/Natural Medicines
Alternative treatments and therapies allow people to achieve health and well-being in body, mind and spirit. These can not only help the body heal naturally, making it stronger and less susceptible to illness but they also help manage issues such as stress, depression and anxiety. Some examples of alternative/natural medicine include: naturopathy, homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, meditation and kinesiology.
New Year Resolution 9 – Be Present: Phone Time Management
The amount of time we spend on our phones every day has become a common concern. It takes a toll on our mental and physical well-being. It is a distraction which robs us of time with others, ourselves, and steals countless opportunities to be present in your daily life. Here are our favorites apps to understand and change how much time you spend on your phone:
And don’t forget to join the Healthy Matters family!
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This article was independently written by Healthy Matters and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.