C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D.
For at least 40 years I have asked “What would it take for you to choose healthy habits?” I have received a few good answers, but the majority of people do not respond; and 97% do not have all
4 of the most basic health habits:
- Body mass index 18 to 24 (only one-third of people have this one)
- No smoking (about 74% have this one)
- Eating 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables daily. (Only about 25% have this one)
- Exercise a MINIMUM of 30 minutes 5 days a week (Only 10% of people!!)
And these are only the tip of a Titanic of health requirements, such as adequate sleep, positive attitude, a good social network, a spiritual foundation for life, etc.
A recent article in the NY TIMES gave me the number one answer—CONSCIENTIOUSNESS!?An 80 year study of longevity (THE LONGEVITY PROJECT) has shown that conscientiousness is the single greatest factor in HEALTH and LONGEVITY. Incidentally genes are perhaps one-third of the influence. Of course, there are many factors which determine spontaneous conscientiousness; for instance having two married parents as a basic foundation! Women are often more likely to have this personality trait, etc. And longevity is far less important than health, but they are identical twins!
I plan to spend the rest of my life studying, teaching, and motivating conscientiousness. I have established The Mary-Charlotte Bayles Shealy Center for Conscientious Living, as the major focus for our 501-c-3 organization, Holos Institutes of Health. It is named for the most conscientious person I have known, my late wife of 52 years. If I can assist you in optimizing this critical trait, you will be optimally healthy!
Now how do you become more conscientious? Stay tuned!