By now everyone knows that lack of exercise and unhealthy eating can cause health problems. A new study released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrates just how dangerous the problems can be. The study, published in the March 10, 2004, Journal of the American Medical Association, found that deaths due to poor diet and physical inactivity rose by 33 percent (%) over the past decade, and noted that these lifestyle factors may soon overtake tobacco as the leading cause of preventable death.
Responding to Americans who oppose holding restaurants legally liable for obesity, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act (called the “Cheeseburger Bill” by some) in March. The bill is meant to protect restaurants and food service companies from litigation.
Five years after releasing the first physical activity guidelines for children 5 to 12 years of age, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) is increasing its recommended amount of activity. NASPE now recommends at least 60 minutes, and up to several hours, of physical activity per day. If you train children or work with school physical education programs, you should check out the guidelines. (See the contact information below.)
Among the recommendations are the following:
kids’ fitnessGood news on the kids’ fitness front: Congress passed the 2004 spending bill that contains the Carol M. White Physical Education for Progress (PEP) Program, allocating $70 million to PEP.
The money will translate into approximately 300 grants awarded in the 2004 to 2005 school year to improve physical education programs in local public and private schools, and faith- and community-based organizations. PEP Grant funds are used to purchase fitness and sports equipment and train teachers in innovative physical education programs.
governmentPrograms aimed at helping prevent childhood obesity got a big boost when the U.S. Senate passed the Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity Act (IMPACT) last December. The bill aims at reducing obesity, particularly among children and adolescents, by encouraging better nutrition and more physical activity.
While Congress is reviewing a proposal that restaurants be required to publish nutrition information on their menus, consumers now have a new tool in their arsenal to make informed food choices when dining out. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) just released a report called Anyone’s Guess, which provides sample menus and their respective calorie contents.
The dangers of sedentary living are making headlines, and government entities are taking notice. Political ideology has its place, but execution is even better. Here’s an update on health- and fitness-related legislative action and advocacy.
You may have found that the Food Guide Pyramid serves as a handy tool to explain the basics of healthy eating to your clients. But note that the times are “a’changin’” and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is going along with the times by revamping the guidelines on which the pyramid is based, to make sure they reflect the latest scientific and medical knowledge. Currently in the revision process, the new guidelines are slated to be published in winter 2005.