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75% of chronic illnesses arise due to bad lifestyle habits

  • Chronic illnesses are responsible for 63% of deaths at a global level
  • Poor diet, physical inactivity, stress, and tobacco lead to a high percentage of chronic illnesses
  • Various studies demonstrate that the consumption of fruit and vegetables help to reduce stress


More than half the adult population of Spain have chronic illnesses and 75% of these cases arise due to bad lifestyle habits, such as an unhealthy diet, lack of physical exercise, stress, and tobacco.

But what exactly is a chronic illness? The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines it as a long-lasting, slowly progressing illness. As Dr Cecilia Almuiña, director of the International Medical Institute of Vithas Internacional states, “bad eating habits and physical inactivity can manifest in the form of metabolic risk factors, such as high blood pressure, increased glucose and lipids in the blood, and obesity. All of this may lead to cardiovascular diseases, the main cause of premature death in terms of non-communicable diseases”.

In the case of cancer, the data is also alarming. The Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) states that 1 out of every 2 people born today in Spain will have cancer. Therefore, as Dr Almuiña states, “prevention and early diagnosis are essential for achieving greater effectiveness in treatments. Healthy habits help to reduce the risk, so we can state that the right diet, as well as physical exercise, are essential tools for prevention”. Vithas Internacional belongs to the Vithas health group, which has 19 hospitals and 25 specialised Vithas Salud health centres in Spain.

Healthy eating and stress

Stress is another of the factors that significantly influence the development of chronic illnesses. “Numerous studies show the correlation that exists between stress and a poor diet, and it is therefore essential to know the power of foods”, states Dr Almuiña.

Specifically, a recent study by the University of Sydney (Australia) indicates that individuals who consume between 5 and 7 portions of fruit and vegetables each day have a 23% lower risk of suffering from stress than those who only eat one at the most. Other studies also show that fruit and vegetables are related with a lower risk of depression and higher levels of wellbeing.

To address the need to establish healthy habits, Dr Cecilia Almuiña will give the lecture “Eat well and get ready for summer”. It will take place next Thursday, the 25th of May, from 19:30 to 20:30, as part of the free Health Class cycle of free conferences, an initiative of the Vithas health group, committed to education for citizens’ health.

Vithas’ commitment: accredited quality of care, and personal, long-term service

Vithas is the leading healthcare operator with 100% Spanish capital and the second largest at a national level. Each year it treats over 4,500,000 patients at its 19 hospitals and 25 specialised Vithas Salud health centres. The 44 centres are spread throughout the national territory, notably the hospitals of Alicante, Almería, Benalmádena, Castellón, Granada, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Lleida, Madrid, Málaga, Sevilla, Tenerife, Vigo, Valencia and Vitoria-Gasteiz. The 25 Vithas Salud health centres are found in Alicante, Elche, El Ejido, Fuengirola, Granada, La Estrada, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Lleida, Madrid, Málaga, Marín, Nerja, Pontevedra, Rincón de la Victoria, Sanxenxo, Sevilla, Torre del Mar, Torremolinos, Vilagarcía, and Vitoria-Gasteiz.

Vithas also has the VithasLab network of laboratories, with over 300 extraction points throughout Spain, and with a strategic agreement with the Red Asistencial Juaneda healthcare network in the Balearic Islands, which has 5 hospitals and a large network of medical centres throughout the region.

Vithas’ commitment to accredited quality healthcare and a personal service is combined with the strong support and long-term vision of the shareholders of Vithas: Goodgrower, which controls 80% of the capital, and the La Caixa group, with the remaining 20%.

With a model for growth based on geographic diversification and sustainability, Vithas plans to continue to consolidate its national presence both through opening new centres and through acquisitions.

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