Cutting the fat out

Residents advised to adopt exercise, healthy diet for better quality of life

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While Colorado may have the smallest number of obese residents in the nation, doctors in Craig say that's no reason for people to neglect exercise.

"Craig (residents) are the kind of people who expect and think that things will change right away," said Tammy Workman, personal trainer at the Trapper Health Club. "They think, 'Three months (of working out) and I can go back to what I was doing before."

People have to change their entire way of life -- eating habits and attitude, Workman said. The change must become part of their lives -- not just something that occurs on a temporary basis, she said.

A healthy amount of exercise is from 30 to 45 minutes 3 to 4 days a week of cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise includes walking, treadmills, running and biking. Weight training should also be included.

However, Workman said people should not stress themselves, especially if they are just starting to workout.

"People should know the limits of their body," Workman said.

Along with exercising, eating a healthy diet is important for maintaining an appropriate body weight.

In Craig, residents can work up a sweat at Curves for Women or Trapper Health Club.

The Memorial Hospital also offers a class called Ten New Healthy Habits, which is made possible through a grant called Moffat County Healthy People 2010 Initiative.

The class is a two-week course that focuses on nutrition, exercise and emotional well being.

Nutritional information is the main goal of the class, which explores carbohydrates, fat grams and good and bad fats, among other health-related issues.

"People should start moving 15 to 20 minutes three times a week and then increase that amount," said Amy Night of The Memorial Hospital and a teacher of the Ten New Healthy Habits class.

Obesity is not healthy, Night said, because it puts people at a high risk for heart disease, diabetes and joint problems, such as arthritis.

Working to avoid obesity, however, can be as easy as taking the stairs instead of using the elevator.

Tips that can provide exercise in the normal routine of the day, Night said, include parking farther away from work and walking or just walking to work.

"Instead of watching television, work in the yard or go for a walk,"Night said.

As a part of the grant, Night has begun to compile data on obesity in Moffat County. This data should be available at the end of 2003 or the beginning of 2004, Night said.

National statistics include:

  • Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States, according to the American Obesity Association.
  • Approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight, 60 million obese and 9 million severely obese.
  • Body Mass Index is a measurement tool used to determine excess body weight. Overweight is defined as a BMI of 25 or more, obesity, 30 or more, and severe obesity is 40 or more.
  • Colorado had the lowest percent of adults considered obese in the Unites States in 2000.
  • People who have college degrees are less likely to be obese than those who have just graduated from high school.

"The trend for children is that they are becoming more obese," Night said.

She said the trend comes in part because there is much more inactivity and convenience foods have become far more prevalent with higher calories and larger portions.

"When most of us have it (convenience food) in front of us, we want to eat it," Night said.

Liz King is an intern with the Craig Daily Press. She can be reached at 824-7031 or eking@craigdailypress.com.

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