Obesity is a major health problem in the United States and a number of obese individuals suffer from serious, life-threatening conditions brought on by their excess weight, according to the National Association for Health and Fitness (NAHF).
Of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States, scientific research has established obesity as a risk factor for half, including coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and some types of cancer.
Approximately 300,000 deaths are attributed to physical inactivity and poor diets every year, making these combined behaviors the second-leading preventable cause of death in the United States, after smoking.
"Our environment is reinforcing the eating of more food, more often and being less active, more often," said Chris Kimber, NAHF board president and registered dietitian. "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."
One potential solution provided in the war against obesity and physical inactivity by the NAHF is the annual national health observance known as National Employee Health and Fitness Day (NEHF), celebrated on the third Wednesday each May.
The primary purpose of this program is to encourage employers to initiate worksite wellness programs that motivate employees to lead more physically active lifestyles.
"This is a win-win situation for both the employee and the employer," said Cindy Porteous, NAHF executive director. "Employees who are physically inactive have higher costs of healthcare for their employer than their physically active counterparts."
More information on National Employee Health and Fitness Day is available at www.physicalfitness.org .
by Virginia Sutcliffe