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Get started on your health lifestyle
Health advice
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Last week, Jan. 18-24, was healthy weight week, but it’s never too late to stop, evaluate your current health and resolve to improve it. So, why not make this the week you adopt a healthy lifestyle that will become part of your daily routine? Such a routine will also prevent eating and weight problems.
Everyone can learn to eat well, live actively and feel good about themselves.This is especially important because of the nation’s obesity problems.  Most often  caused by too many calories and too little physical activity, obesity can lead to several serious and sometimes fatal diseases. During the past three decades, obesity has tripled for children and teenagers, increasing to the point where 15 percent are overweight and another 15 percent are at risk. Youth obesity is associated with increases in high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
Today’s obese youth are more likely to become obese adults. Data in 1999 showed that 61 percent of adults in the United States were overweight or obese. Those increases cut across all ages, racial and ethnic groups, and both genders.
Maintaining a healthy weight can increase life expectancy, quality of life, and physical and mental well-being. As an individual, you can help maintain a healthy weight by eating the recommended number of calories each day and getting regular exercise. Communities can promote healthy weight by establishing safe areas for children to play, ensuring that school lunches are healthy, and encouraging physical activity for its residents.
If you are overweight, losing as little as 5 percent of your body weight may lower your risk for several diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. Slow and steady weight loss of one-half to two pounds per week is the safest way to go.
To lose weight and keep it off over time, try to make long-term changes in your eating and physical activity habits. Choose healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat meat and dairy products. Eat more often and eat just enough food to satisfy you. Try to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week. To lose weight or to maintain weight loss, you may need to do more than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily.

Ratcliffe is a consultant to the Coastal Health District. You can call her at 876-6399.
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