Chronic diseases are defined as conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention and/or limit activities of daily living.

Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Many chronic diseases are caused by a short list of risk behaviors, not by genetics:

  • Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Poor nutrition, including diets low in fruits and vegetables and high in sodium and saturated fats
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Excessive alcohol use