Monday, November 3, 2008

Obesity Is A Growing Problem

Figuratively and literally, obesity is a growing problem in the United States. This month, with the release of its first-ever physical activity guidelines for Americans, the federal government took an unprecedented step that our nation’s leaders hope will help to stem that epidemic, one pound at a time. Several local health experts are enthusiastic about the new guidelines, compiled and released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to officially inform citizens about the ‘types and amounts of physical activity that offer substantial health benefits to Americans.’‘Obesity is a growing epidemic in our country, and it affects not only adults, but children, too,’ said Lynne Krulich, executive director of the Princeton Health & Fitness Center. ‘I think that the government chose to release these guidelines now to make people more aware and to inform them that it doesn’t take a whole lot, but to just start moving. The fitness center is excited about these guidelines, and we believe they represent a positive step forward in the fight against obesity.’ Justin White, a personal trainer at the PHFC, says that such guidelines will be helpful in an era when children don’t always get the same healthy dose of playful activity that past generations enjoyed.‘The childhood obesity problem is caused by a lack of physical activity,’ he said. ‘I think kids stay inside too much today; they watch too much television and play too many video games. They’re not out running around and playing, and then they’re eating fast food and microwave meals loaded in fats and carbs. Sitting around playing Playstation and eating that is not healthy.’ Several national initiatives, including the President’s Challenge and Nickelodeon’s Let’s Just Play program have been implemented to try to put an end to that dangerous cycle. Locally, as well, offerings are available to ensure that regular physical activity is a part of the lives of Mercer County’s children and adolescents.’ ‘We have the NEW YOU childhood obesity program, where kids come in after school 3-4 days a week,” said Krulich. “We exercise with them, and a dietician works with their meal planning…The kids have a good time plus they’re learning good life skills for health and fitness.’

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