A health expert says the recent Thanksgiving gluttony is only a small part of a major problem with obesity among Iowans Tim Lane of the Iowa Department of Public Health says the splurges during Thanksgiving and the other holidays are on top of a day in and day out routine that’s getting less and less physical and includes the consumption of larger quantities of food. Lane says Iowans of all ages are getting less exercise. He says recent studies show kids are viewing computer screens at a rate of four-point-five hours a day. He says the time spent “view screens” by adults and kids mean less time out playing in the yard, walking and doing other activities, leading to an unhealthy imbalance of time spent viewing screens versus activity. Lane says you don’t have to make a major change in your activity to make some progress. He says you don’t even have to burn through physical activity as many calories as you consume, you just have to burn a little more. He says some people start training for a marathon right after the holidays and then get discouraged give up on it. He says if you start by just adding ten percent more to what you’re doing, and slowly increase, you can make significant changes. Another study shows Iowans rank worse than the national average when it comes to eating fruits and vegetables. Lane says eating healthier food is one long-term option for shedding pounds. He says you can change your lifestyle on either side — either cut down on the calories or increase the input of more nutritious and less fat food. Lane says one approach you might try is the the state program “Lighten Up Iowa” that uses a team approach to help you get fit. He says when 10 people get together and give you some good natured ribbing about improving, you create some synergy that you don’t have when you go it alone. For more information onthe Lighten Up Iowa program, surf to:www.lightenupiowa.org.
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