A message from across the pond you can’t afford to ignore

It’s easy to think of yourself as invincible when you’re younger — especially when it comes to your health. But the very real fact is that today’s daily habits and behaviors determine tomorrow’s health struggles.

In other words, the choices you make today matter — a lot. And contrary to popular belief, the game isn’t over once you hit middle age. In fact, for some people, it’s just beginning.

In fact, making the right lifestyle choices at 40 can double your odds of being healthy at 70, and beyond. And British health officials are raising awareness of this critical fact in their latest effort to save their citizens from completely preventable disease.

The UK just launched a new public health campaign, aptly named “One You.” The message revolves around some pretty sobering statistics. Like the fact that 40 percent of all deaths in England can be traced directly back to poor diet, inactivity, smoking, and drinking too much alcohol.

Nearly half of all middle-aged adults in the UK are living with at least one long-term condition that spikes the risk of early death and disability. Which means the situation across the pond isn’t so different from our own here in the U.S. People are living longer than ever… but they’re also spending their “golden” years in a struggle with chronic disease.

All told, unhealthy lifestyle choices are costing the British healthcare system more than £11 billion to treat (which equates to more than $15 billion USD). And England only has a quarter of our population. Not to mention lower rates of obesity, diabetes, and smoking.

How much do you imagine our fellow Americans’ lifestyle choices are costing all of us?

So now that I’ve told you all about England’s new public health campaign, I want you to really let the message sink in. Think about what it means for you. And get downright serious about it on all levels.

Because it’s true that you can’t undo the damage that you did to your skin when you were a kid. But you can help to prevent skin cancer by protecting yourself from the sun now. You also can’t change the fact that you smoked for two, 10, or 20 years. But you can reduce your risk of COPD, emphysema, and lung cancer by putting out those cigarettes — for good — now.

And yes, I know the struggle is real. I see it every day. I have said this a million times, but it is far easier to be unhealthy than it is to be healthy in our society. That’s just the way it’s set up. The game is rigged for failure.

Food is sold in gigantic portions — while we spend most of our days sitting at desks and commuting in cars. We don’t get enough sleep. We don’t spend enough time standing or walking, much less exercising. And we live in a toxic world where endocrine disrupting industrial chemicals make it harder and harder to maintain our weight — let alone lose any.

The solution? It may not be easy, but for starters, you’ve got to start prioritizing your health — whatever your current age. It’s one of the few things you can do that we know for certain will increase your life span… and allow you to enjoy that extra time, too.

If you do nothing else, consider making these three simple changes today: Drink less. Stop smoking (yes, even if you only smoke a few cigarettes a day). And lose weight.

Because it’s never too early to start safeguarding your health — and it’s never too late, either.