Health advice for 2017: Simplify, simplify

You may be able to save time and money—and spare yourself frustration—by adopting a more minimal approach to preventing disease.

Published: January, 2017

couple walking dog 2017 health advice
Image: monkeybusinessimages /Thinkstock

As the Shaker lyrics go, "'Tis the gift to be simple," and simplicity is a gift you might want to grant yourself in the new year. If so, you'll have some help from health experts. In the past few years, complicated advice for diet and exercise has given way to simpler, more sustainable guidelines, and the FDA has come down in favor of simple soap and water over antimicrobial cleaners to prevent infectious diseases.

If you've vowed to make positive changes in your lifestyle this year, you're likely to be more successful if you don't take on complex new regimens. "People can achieve remarkable changes in their lives one small step at a time," says Dr. Edward M. Phillips, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and medical editor of the Harvard Special Health Report Simple Changes, Big Rewards (

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