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Food Producers Aiding Nation's Obesity, Fitness Council Says

In order to make headway in the country's battle against obesity, officials are attacking the food producers themselves instead of the consumers.

The National Association of Governors' Councils on Physical Fitness and Sports (NAGCPFS) has condemned the recent release of "fat-laden" products by Sara Lee Corporation and Kraft Foods at the Food Marketing Institute's annual supermarket trade show in Chicago.

"Our environment is reinforcing the eating of more food, more often and being less active, more often," Chris Kimber, NAGCPFS board president and dietitian, said. "As a national association, the NAHF must do everything we can to initiate community programs that support and encourage all individuals to be active, as well as educate the public about the long-term dangers of overeating."

The NAGCPFS currently has two solutions that are implemented across the country that are used to fight obesity and inactivity. The two solutions are the National Employee Health and Fitness Day (NEHF) and the "Let's Get Physical" Challenge (LGP).

The NEHF Day is celebrated annually on the third Wednesday in May and is designed to encourage employers to initiate wellness programs in their companies. These programs are offered, conveniently, on the job site and motivate employees to lead more physically active lifestyles.

"This is a win-win situation for both the employee and the employer," Cindy Porteous, NAGCPFS executive director, said. "Employees who are physically inactive have higher costs of healthcare for their employer than their physically active counterparts."

The Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health in 1996 spurred the NAGCPFS to do something about the nation's obesity. The study found 60 percent of American adults aren't regularly physically active and 25 percent aren't physically active at all.

Started in 1997, the LGP Challenge is an eight-week program that encourages employees to participate in 30 minutes of activity at least three times a week. Since it started four years ago, more than 1500 companies have LGP Challenged more than 15,000 individuals. This program, along with the NEHF, are leading the way in the war on fat and laziness.

Of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States, obesity is responsible for half, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers. Inactivity and poor diet are the second leading cause of preventable death in the country, as they are accountable for about 300,000 a year.

Source: National Association for Health and Fitness

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