I love simplicity. I think people try to make health and fitness too complicated. They have this notion that to start their journey it takes a huge outlay of time and money for gym memberships, supplements and weight loss programs selling pre-packaged food.

2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
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image by dboy

I base my thinking on a pretty simple idea. The complicated and processed packaged food and infomercial gadgets haven’t helped us one bit in our quest to be healthy and fit. Think back a hundred years ago when most people didn’t sit at desks all day, we walked more and pretty much ate what we could get locally. Obesity and its complications were nowhere near the issue they are today in our society. When we moved more, ate less and ate better quality foods we were healthier.

So that was why I was so pleased to see a preview of the new health and dietary guidelines being proposed by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. They seem to have gotten it right by getting down to the basics. The preview outlines 4 simple steps that everyone can, and should, take to fight obesity and live a healthier and fitter life.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Reduce excess weight with a combination of moving more and eating less.
  2. Eat a more plant based diet, increasing intake of fruits and vegetables, beans and whole grains and consuming only moderate amounts of meat and poultry.
  3. Reduce intake of sugar, salt and fat. The new guideline is 1500 mg of sodium per day. The average American today consumes about 3200 mg per day.
  4. Meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans by getting 2 and ½ hours per week of moderate intensity exercise, or about 30 minutes per day most days.

Notice, no fancy supplements or gadgets required. Just a little preparation and work each day.  Simple, right? I agree with these recommendations whole heartedly and I hope when the final version comes out later in 2010 they are very much the same and get the attention they deserve as a way to fight our national obesity epidemic.

The committee working on these guidelines is interested in hearing your thoughts (as am I) about their recommendations. If you would like to give your opinion to the Dept. of Health and Human Services please visit www.dietaryguidelines.gov

Let me know what you think too. Any other simple steps you think are missing?

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