Saturday, November 6, 2004

More steps, fewer calories


Move Day downtown maps out simple fitness routine

By Tim Bonfield
Enquirer staff writer

[photo]
Walkers set their own pace as they leave Fountain Square for a march around downtown Friday. Organizers intend Move Day to become as well known as the annual Great American Smokeout, another health initiative.
The Enquirer/TONY JONES
DOWNTOWN - Call it the obesity version of the Great American Smokeout.

A coalition of health care, government and business organizations kicked off Cincinnati's participation in America on the Move Day with a lunchtime stroll around part of downtown.

The goal is to slow down the nation's steadily growing obesity problem by encouraging people to walk 2,000 extra steps and eat 100 fewer calories a day. Ohio is one of 20 states participating this year.

"This problem isn't going to get solved overnight. The idea is to start with something people can do and then build from there," said Dr. John Peters, an associate director of Procter & Gamble's Nutrition Science Institute and a co-organizer of the America on the Move program.

For years, health organizations have used Great American Smokeout Day to warn people about the health problems caused by smoking, to promote smoke-free restaurants and workplaces, and to raise awareness of tobacco-related issues.

Likewise, America on the Move seeks to become a high-profile, anti-obesity movement, Peters said.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM
For information about America on the Move, call (800) 807-0077 or check www.americaonthemove.org In a related event, the Healthy Ohioans Business Council will hold a daylong meeting Tuesday in Columbus to discuss workplace wellness programs. For information, visit www.healthyohioans.org.
2,000 steps
Want to hit the pavement during lunch and knock off 2,000 steps to better health? Here's the way:
• Start at Fountain Square.
• Walk west along Fifth Street to Elm Street.
• When you hit Elm, head north to Seventh Street.
• Head east on Seventh to Vine.
• Go south on Vine until you get back to Fountain Square.
This year's event started small.

On a brisk but sunny lunch hour, a few dozen people lined up at Fountain Square for a 2,000-step walk.

It took them from Fifth to Elm, then to Seventh, across to Vine, then back to Fifth.

More important was demonstrating that getting started doesn't take much. "We need to establish a new social norm. That takes time," Peters said.

So how can people tell if America on the Move really makes a difference? Short term, organizers will be watching to see how many states, employers and citizens join the program.

If the program catches on, other changes might happen, such as restaurants and food companies recognizing a growing demand for more healthful menu choices and reasonable portion sizes.

In years to come, public health officials hope healthy lifestyle changes will help reduce deaths from heart disease, stroke, diabetes and several kinds of cancer.

E-mail tbonfield@enquirer.com




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