Every 10 years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) produces a report detailing how much progress the country has made in reaching the Healthy People goals set by the agency in 28 separate areas. An interim review, published recently, included many sobering findings.
Americans continue to get heavier, the report indicates. Some 46 percent of the population is now overweight; 40 percent don’t exercise; and, disturbingly, parents seem to be passing their unhealthy habits along to their children.
Among the other disappointing news, I quote some of the findings in the interim review:
Only 33 percent of adults were at a healthy weight in 2003-2006, half of the HHS’ target objective, and 10 percent lower than in 1988-1994.
Between 1980 and 2004, obesity more than doubled among adults and rose 17 percent among children. The incidence of diabetes has been on the rise since 1997.
The prevalence of childhood obesity has prompted the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to recommend cholesterol testing for children as young as two.
These are heady times for fitness advocates. The research is in, and the results are clear: physical activity is, not surprisingly, very, very good for you. If we had a pill that contained all of the benefits of exercise, it would be the most widely prescribed drug in the world.
Yet, despite all the wonderful news about the benefits of exercise, only a relatively small percentage of Americans currently pursue physical activity on a regular basis.
The important questions remain about how to convince the average person to make the leap from knowing about the benefits of exercise to actually pursuing them.
The recreation center is excited to be offering a new program very soon. I’ll be picking up half a dozen spin bikes from Denver, and you can be looking for information on spin classes in this column next week.