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Get a healthy start on fitness
by Jayme Haitsuka, Lifestyles editor

Every day Americans are faced with a choice: eat fast or eat healthy. Sadly, most opt for a meal deal at the closest fast food joint rather than a salad and some fruit for lunch. It is that trend that prompted U.S. Surgeon General, David Satcher, to warn Americans that obesity may soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of preventable deaths.

Reinforcing Satcher’s research, its USDA has released their Dietary Guidelines for 2002. This report, compiled and researched by 21 scientists from the United States and Canada, is aimed not to help Americans lose weight, but to get into a healthier lifestyle. Besides providing daily nutrition breakdowns of protein (10 to 35 percent), fat (20 to 35 percent), and carbohydrates (45 to 65 percent) based on a 2,000 calorie day, the USDA also stated that Americans should exercise a minimum of one hour each day—double the amount previously recommended.

Also new this year is researchers have found that calorie intake should be proportional to one’s daily exercise, not height and weight as thought before.

“You tell me what exercises you do, and I’ll tell you what you can eat,” said George Brooks, professor of integrative biology at the University of California at Berkley and a USDA researcher. The key to living healthy, and eventually losing weight, is burning off excess calories before they’ve had the chance to turn into fat.

However, Joan Carter, spokesperson for the American Dietary Association (ADA), says it might not be as easy as that.

“You might burn 180 calories if you walk an hour—but you haven’t even burnt off half the calories of those biggie fries,” said Carter. In fact, a recent ADA study found that people who lost weight and kept it off for five years did so by burning 400 calories a day through walking four miles daily!

For many, busy schedules don’t allow an hour daily of rigorous exercise. Therefore, Healthyhawaii.com, a site sponsored by the State of Hawai‘i, suggests spreading exercise throughout the day by parking in the farthest stall from one’s destination, doing laps around the grocery store while shopping, or taking the stairs rather than the elevator. The State of Hawai‘i has launched a campaign to get islanders to start living and eating healthier, since national statistics state that 34 percent of Americans are overweight and an additional 27 percent are obese (msnbc.com). Perhaps Healthyhawaii’s slogan is ideal when trying to live healthy: “c’mon, you gotta start somewhere.”

 

 

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