We can all live better

Published 6:10 pm Monday, July 19, 2010

I read recently that Alabama ranked No. 2 in the nation for obesity among adults, based on a report released by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The report also stated Alabama ranks No. 14 for obesity among children, and that about 17.9 percent of Alabama’s children ages 10-17 are obese.

Many factors have been attributed to obesity, and genetics is among them. The intention of this column is not to judge anyone about their obesity. I simply want to encourage people to rethink their diet and lifestyle choices, and I will admit that it has been difficult for me to follow my own advice on this matter.

I believe many people know what they should do when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle. The key is putting it into practice and actually doing it. I have found this to be my biggest personal struggle.

Many Americans are addicted to salt and sugar. We eat food for its taste, and out of habit, rather than for its nutritional content.

On the other side of the coin is our lack of exercise. This is especially important for those of us with jobs that do not require a lot of physical exertion. Without a daily exercise schedule, we’re lost.

Combine a poor diet with a virtually nonexistent exercise plan, and you’ve potentially got a recipe for a myriad of health problems. I believe the aforementioned study should be a wake-up call for those of us who see the need to change the way we eat, think and live.

Having someone to keep you accountable through a diet and/or exercise program can help a lot. Programs like Scale Back Alabama have helped people lose weight because they partner with others who have the same goal. This way, they are more likely to succeed.

Our local hospital is doing its part to help people get healthy. A diabetes class is held at Chilton Medical Center on the third Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. To learn more about this class, call 280-3304.

Also, Senior Connection has helped local seniors become more active at CMC. Although this class consists of mostly ladies, it is open to all adults age 50 and older. To learn more about this, call Vanessa McKinney at 280-3346.

You can also join your local YMCA or similar facility for many different programs. To find out what programs are available locally and when they are offered, call the Chilton County YMCA at 755-2382.

There are plenty of things we can do to improve ourselves. To view the obesity study in its entirety, visit www.healthyamericans.org/reports/obesity2010.