By Rose L. Thayer

Killeen Daily Herald

One thing I love about health reporting is that I never seem to have too little information to put in a story. It's usually the other way around — I have way too much.

Unfortunately, that means lots of great, valuable information gets left behind in my notes, never to be seen again.

While reporting on an article about preventive health care, all of the doctors I interviewed emphasized that lifestyle choices also play a significant role in preventing illness. This was hard to include, because the emphasis of the data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was on people who utilize doctors for preventive measures.

Dr. George Rodgers, a cardiologist with Seton Heart Institute in Austin, shared with me some health tips he discusses with patients, and I just couldn't hold on to these.

Dr. Rodgers said these are the fundamentals, easy to say, but often hard to do. I agree.

Each tip just seems so sensible, I couldn't help but share each of them with readers.

Obtain and maintain an ideal body weight. Rodgers said it is the belly fat that is the problem. Men need to keep bellies at 40 inches or less, women at 35 inches or less, he said. This measurement needs to be taken right at the belly button.

Get regular aerobic exercise. Rodgers said to strive to add about 150 minutes of movement-type exercise to your weekly schedule, whether it's Zumba, kickboxing or jogging. That breaks down to about 40 minutes, four times a week.

Eat a healthy diet. It should include fruits and vegetables, and minimize anything that comes from an animal. Fish, said Rodgers, is the ideal protein.

Get enough sleep, seven to eight hours a night.

Find healthy ways of coping with stress such as meditation or yoga.

No smoking and no excessive drinking. I was reassured when Rodgers said a glass of wine a night is fine.

Another thing we often forget about is supplements, he said. He recommends a vitamin D supplement of 1,000 units a day, because it is a vitamin that most Americans lack.

"We are scared of sun, and for good reason," he said. "It wrecks our skin and makes us wrinkle. The byproduct is we don't get enough vitamin D."

Vitamin D levels, he said, can be checked out by a doctor and the need determined.

Rodgers also said he recommends people take fish oil capsules to keep the omega 3 up.

"Do all that and you'll live a long, healthy, happy life," said Rodgers.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

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