By Mary Chase
I wasn’t surprised to read recently that Colorado is the thinnest state in the United States at nineteen percent. Many of us are attracted to the active lifestyle Colorado boasts, which keeps us in good shape. What is alarming is that the obesity rate for Colorado has doubled since 1995. Furthermore, our obesity rates are climbing at a rate that far exceeds the rest of the country. Of even greater concern is that one in four children in Colorado is obese. Ournational rating of childhood obesity fell from third to twenty-third in the last four years.
Colorado spent $847 million dollars on obesity related medical costs last year. I think the root of fixing any problem is to determine what caused it. So how did we get here? And how do we get away from here? The first and most predominant factor is that fast food is bad for you, yet cheap and convenient. Families are busy with work and activities, so fast food provides an inexpensive and easy solution. Think twice before you eat your next cheeseburger in the drive through. Do you really want the feeling of sludge in your stomach, and decreased energy an hour after you eat it? Not only will healthy foods help you maintain a healthy weight, but will help you with increased and sustained energy.
Convenience is a huge factor contributing to our obesity rate. As our society has made advances to make day-to-day life easier, our waistlines have grown. We no longer have to complete as much manual labor in order to complete day-to-day tasks. The result of less manual labor and consuming the same or more calories; you see where that puts us. Obese. So the next time you want to take the easier route and drive the kids to school, consider the benefits of taking a little extra time to walk them there instead.
So what do we do to change these statistics in Colorado? Let’s continue to be the fittest state in the nation. However, let’s walk more, eat healthier, and continue to engage in the many active activities that make Colorado such a great place to live. Make sure that those activities include at least thirty minutes of cardiovascular exercise most days of the week and two to three of those days resistance training as well. This is what is needed to maintain weight.
If you are trying to shed some pesky pounds; you will need to increase the duration and intensity of your daily exercise. I guarantee it will not only help our obesity rate, but will help with your day-to-day happiness and quality of life.