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The Department of Health is encouraging Pennsylvanians to think of adding healthy choices to their New Year’s resolutions this year.

“Many of us make resolutions to better ourselves in the new year," Secretary Karen Murphy said in a news release. "This year, I would like to encourage everyone to take important steps that will improve your health throughout 2017."

According to the release, making sure vaccinations are up to date, visiting a primary-care provider, making healthy food choices, being active and prioritizing sleep and wellness should all be on the list.

For a healthy 2017, the DOH recommends:

Getting vaccinated to prevent the flu and many other diseases. With flu activity now widespread, Pennsylvanians should also wash hands often, cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue or sleeve instead of hands, clean frequently used surfaces and stay home while dealing with the flu.

Visiting a primary-care provider for a checkup, vaccination or routine screening, as regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start. They also can help find problems early, when your chances for full recovery are better.

Making healthy food choices by including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts. Focus on a diet low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars. If you are pregnant or the mother of an infant or young child, you might qualify for state Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits to cover the cost of healthy foods.

Being more active. Diet and activity play a role in getting “lose weight” finally checked off the resolution list. Winter’s limited daylight and cold temperatures mean many people are less active, but regular exercise is best for your health. Minor changes can make a significant difference. Take brisk walks, use the stairs instead of elevators when possible and park in distant spots in parking lots.

Getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends preschool-age children get 11 to 12 hours of sleep; young children get at least 10; teens get nine to 10 hours; and adults get a minimum of seven to eight hours of sleep.

For more information about how to stay healthy, visit the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov or on Facebook or Twitter.

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