Chew The Fat

We have all heard our parents or grandparents bragging about walking uphill both ways to school. Though it may be a bit exaggerated, evidence shows that rural people were once better off in terms of physical activity, nutrition and weight.
A report by Center for Rural Affairs found that rural Americans today, are more obese and less fit than urban Americans.

Numerous issues contribute to this situation. Forty years ago half of all students walked or bicycled to school. Today less than 15 percent do because of traffic safety concerns.

Employment has affected our health as well. Fewer rural Americans are employed in rigorous occupations such as farming, fishing and forestry. Also the percentage of multiple income families has grown. With their jobs, along with school and community activities, rural people struggle to find time to exercise and prepare nutritious meals.

Even if individuals and families try to make better eating decisions, the availability of nutritious foods is often limited.

Many of the factors involved in worsening conditions regarding diet, activity and obesity can be addressed through individual, family and community action.

As the new administration and the new Congress begin to debate health care reform, they need to keep in mind that the best long-term way to reform the health care system is to help create healthier people. Everyone has a stake in creating a healthier society and everyone has responsibility to do so.

The full report is available online at: http://www.cfra.org/09/01/healthreport

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