We are all probably aware of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to promote fitness and fight childhood obesity. Check out her website, http://www.letsmove.gov
In America greater than 35% of Adults and 18% of children age 2 – 19 are considered obese. Obesity is a medical condition that can lead to reduced life expectancy and various health problems such as, heart disease, type 2 disease, sleep apnea and osteoarthritis, to name a few; diet and exercise are the primary treatments for obesity. “Overweight and obesity are the result of caloric imbalance – too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed – and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.” It was recently estimated that the cost of obesity in America over the next two decades will be well over 6 billion dollars. See a report by CNN http://alturl.com/hni2w
It is important to note, that you can be considered overweight or obese and can still be healthy as long as you’re fit. There are 1,440 minutes in a day and at least 30 minutes of the 1,440 minutes should be dedicated to moderate physical activity; you should try to carve out 30 minutes 5 day a week. Moderate physical activity can be mowing the lawn, swimming, cycling, canoeing or dancing. The key is to be active, have fun and possibly improve your quality of life. Clinical trials have shown that losing weight and improving your fitness level may delay or prevent type 2 diabetes, may reduce high blood pressure and may prevent some cardiovascular problems. It is never too late to start and become physically fit, but if you have been inactive for a while start out slow and have fun so that you will stick with it. Of course, the standard is “before beginning any exercise program an evaluation by a physician is recommended to rule out potential health risks”.
Why exercise anyway?
A formal definition; “Exercise is physical activity that is planned, structured and repetitive for the purpose of conditioning any part of the body. Exercise is used to improve health, maintain fitness and is important as a means of physical rehabilitation”.
If you are not interested or do not like being involved in a structured workout program you can simply start increasing your physical activity be taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking a little further away and walking, don’t use your parents handicap sign, if you take public transportation get off the bus or train a stop further than you normally do and walk. If you still need convincing that physical activity has benefits check out the Health Information at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ01676
In New York super-size sodas are banned, healthy snacks are being put in vending machines at schools and school lunch programs are offering healthy alternatives. “The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, and the food and beverage industries and entertainment industries”. The banning of partially hydrogenated oils (trans. fats), the action of Mayor Bloomberg in NYC and the action of school administrators is a start.