Monday, August 10, 2009

Fast food

By Courtney Westlake

Did you know that French fries are the most eaten vegetable in America?

Obesity is an epidemic, and it has the potential to surpass smoking as the number one cause of preventable death in the country, according to Amanda Jillson, assistant director of fitness and instructional programs at TRAC.

So what can we do about it?

"The best thing to do is be active," Jillson encouraged. "You don't necessarily need a gym membership to be active - although a TRAC membership is always a good thing! - but when it comes down to it, we really just need to be active, whether it's walking, jogging, cycling. Any kind of activity will help with your attitude, help with your weight and help with your overall well-being in general."

One in four Americans eats at a fast food restaurant every day. However, nutritionists suggest eating fast food about once a month.

"I'm not necessarily saying fast food is bad; there are both good and bad things about it," Jillson said. "As we know, it also comes down to choices we make when we go out to eat."

Having a super-sized soda, fries and a Big Mac or cheeseburger is going to take about seven hours of walking to burn that meal off, Jillson said. So she encouraged people to make good choices and try to eat out just a little less.

"Try to go once a week or even once a month. Make it a treat to yourself, because who doesn't love French fries?" she said. "And keep in mind that if you're active, you're feeling better about yourself and you're burning calories, even if you splurge on food sometimes."

Jillson encouraged people to visit or come in to TRAC, where the staff will be happy to answer any questions about staying active and healthy lifestyle choices.

"And remember, chronic disease and illness doesn't take a day off!" Jillson said.


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