Q: What steps can I take to prevent disease?

A: One important step to take is to schedule your annual physical with your primary care physician. During this appointment, she may discuss screening exams which may help to identify potential health problems early. An approximate schedule for screening evaluations includes: an annual mammogram starting at age 40, colonoscopy at age 50, prostate cancer screening at age 50 (may start at age 40 in African American men), cervical cancer screening (PAP) at age 21, and bone density scan to detect osteopenia at age 65. These screening procedures may need to be done earlier depending upon family and personal medical history. Other steps to prevent disease include regular exercise (30 minutes per day), losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet. My Plate is designed to give you healthy eating suggestions. It is an online animated program that will help you customize a diet by choosing proper foods and portion sizes based on your age, sex, and activity level. The key objectives are to help you get the most nutrition (proteins, vitamins, and minerals) out of the recommended number of daily calories and to achieve a balance between food intake and physical activity to maintain a healthy weight. Visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate-Daily-Checklist for more information.

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