Make a personal health checklist

Justin Hamrick Osage County Health Department

Make sure you address your health challenges this year by composing a personal health checklist. Here are some suggestions:

1. Make your appointments for check-ups, vaccinations and screenings. Regular oral and medical exams and tests can help find potential problems before they start. They also can help find problems early, when your chances for treatment and cure are better.

2. Wash your hands often with soap and water to prevent the spread of infection and illness. Handwashing involves five simple and effective steps — wet, lather, scrub, rinse for at least 20 seconds under warm water, and dry.

3. Make healthy food choices. A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. It also includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts, and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.

4. Get active! Start small — try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking further from your destination. Consider mall walking if the weather is cold or icy. Adults should get at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate-intensity physical activity.

5. Be smoke free. If you are ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569 for Spanish speakers) for free resources, including free quit coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials, and referrals to other resources where you live. Need inspiration? Check out some videos from the Tips From Former Smokers® campaign at

6. Get enough sleep. Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions — such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression. Adults need seven or more hours per night. Children aged 5-12 need anywhere from 9 to 11. For more information on sleep needs, visit