Yet five chronic diseases associated with obesity account for more than 66 percent of all deaths in the United States. Incidentally, these disorders are heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease such as emphysema, bronchitis and asthma.
Some of these diseases are preventable. Families can take simple, affordable steps to add modest but regular physical activity into our daily lives, along with good nutrition and behavioral changes.
We can address the growing obesity problem among children and adolescents by starting early to incorporate exercise into our families' lives. In the past 22 years, the percentage of overweight children has nearly doubled and percentage of obese adolescents has nearly tripled.
Although type 2 diabetes as virtually unknown in children and adolescents 10 years ago, this disease now accounts for nearly half the new pediatric diabetes cases in some communities.
Another reason to encourage children to make physical exercise a regular habit is that many behaviors leading to adult obesity are established during childhood.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, poor health shouldn't be a foregone consequence of aging for our nation's senior citizens. Improvements in physical activity and diet can greatly improve people's quality of life at any age.
A healthy lifestyle has more influence than genetics in preventing deterioration traditionally associated with aging. Regular exercise helps older people maintain joint strength and mobility. It also substantially delays the onset of functional limitations and loss of independence.
Incorporating physical activity into your everyday life doesn't mean you have to join an expensive gymnasium or commit to a rigorous exercise or training routine. Simply choose daily activities that speed your heart rate and breathing, or increase your strength and flexibility. For example, walk to work or park far away from the mall entrance, garden, take stairs rather than the elevator or take extra stairs, or mow the lawn with a push mower.
In addition to building aerobic fitness and strength, regular physical fitness relieves stress, promotes relaxation and aids sleep.
The following recommendations for adult, children and teenage activity were developed by a panel of scientists under leadership of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services. The proposals for daily physical activity are based on the results of studies examining
the relationship between activity and health.
The scientists recommend that adults engage in at least 30 minutes of activity each day. If you can't set aside 30 minutes at one time, break it up into 10- or 15-minute segments.
The recommendation for children and teenagers is at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity. Although it would seem that setting aside time for physical activity would be easy, children have busy schedules, too. It might be easier to spread the activity over several segments. Regular, normal play or outdoor activity helps children control blood pressure and manage weight while building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints.
For more information on family health, contact the Logan County Cooperative Extension Service.
Summertime & the shopping is easy
Are you looking for ideas on quick, tasty, healthy meals for the summer season? Try looking at your local Farmer's Market, roadside stand, or grocery store. By using fresh, seasonal local produce as the centerpiece of your meals you can serve foods that are convenient, good-for-you, and farm fresh. Greens, vegetables, and fruits make quick salad preparation a snap. Fresh vegetables like corn, asparagus, or green beans are easy to cook in the microwave. Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and peaches are tasty treats for quick snacks or a breakfast on-the-go. Shop for local, fresh produce before your regular trip to the grocery. The selections change throughout the season and you'll find plenty of ideas for mouth- watering, summertime meals.
Zucchini and corn saute
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 medium green pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium sweet red pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon garlic salt (optional)
teaspoon Italian seasoning
In a large skillet, saut zucchini and peppers in oil until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Saut 3 to 4 minutes longer or until corn is tender