Saturday, February 7, 2009

Put yourself BACK on the Priority List in your house

Ride for Your Health

Bicycling can help solve two of our nation's leading crises: skyrocketing healthcare costs, which are damaging every sector of our economy, and the obesity epidemic, which in 2000 caused 400,000 deaths, 16.6 percent of all deaths recorded, due to physical inactivity and poor diet. A study of almost 200,000 General Motors employees found that overweight and obese individuals average up to $1,500 more in annual medical costs than healthy-weight individuals. By getting people moving again, bicycling can help improve Americans lose weight and improve their physical fitness. This could not only save lives, it could help greatly reduce the total costs to society of obesity, estimated at $117 billion per year (including $39 billion a year through Medicare and Medicaid programs, which cover sicknesses caused by obesity including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and several types of cancer).

Recreational bike riding is a safe, low-impact, aerobic activity for Americans of all ages. A 150-pound cyclist burns 410 calories while pedaling 12 miles in an hour-almost the equivalent calories of a McDonald's Quarter Pounder®. A 200-pound cyclist burns 546 calories while going 12 miles per hour-almost the equivalent of a Big Mac®.

Sources: Exercise and Your Heart -- A Guide to Physical Activity. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute / American Heart Association, DHHS, PHS, NIH Publication No. 93-1677 and McDonald's.

The President, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Surgeon General, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services have all recently expressed concern over America’s overweight problem. According to the CDC, 61% of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese; 13% of kids aged 6 to 11 and 14% of kids 12 to 19 are overweight. Obesity is second behind tobacco in U.S. health risk factors, contributing to 300,000 deaths a year.

According to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, approximately 70% of US adults are sedentary. This includes 28% who engage in no leisure-time physical activities and 42% who undertake less than 30 minutes of physical activity (such as walking) each day.

The Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health said, "Physical activity of the type that improves cardiovascular endurance reduces the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes and improves mental health. Findings are suggestive that endurance-type physical activity may reduce the risk of developing obesity, osteoporosis, and depression and may improve psychological well-being and quality of life."

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