Take action against obesity epidemic during National 5 A Day Month By South Dakota Department of Health Americans continue to face startling health risks associated with poor diet and physical inactivity. In response to this issue, South Dakota will celebrate National 5 A Day Month this September with the theme �Energize and Mobilize � Eat Fruits, Vegetables, and Be Active.� The theme is meant to empower the state�s residents � both individually and collectively � to take charge of their health.
The Department of Health encourages all South Dako-tans to take charge of their health and work for environmental changes in their communities that support healthy lifestyles. If we are going to curb the obesity epidemic we need to get energized, make better choices, and let our civic leaders and policymakers know that we want change. We want healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, to be more accessible, and we want a safe environment to enjoy physical activity.
The department�s latest Behavioral Risk Factor Survey shows 60 percent of South Dakota�s adults are overweight or obese and the school height and weight survey shows 33 percent of our school students are overweight or at risk for overweight. It�s also troubling that 81 percent of South Dakotans don�t eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, according to the Risk Factor Survey.
We know that physical inactivity and unhealthy eating significantly increase the risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke, which are the three leading causes of death in South Dakota, accounting for nearly 60 percent of deaths in the state.
Numerous diseases and conditions have been linked to poor diet and physical inactivity including cardiovascular disease, hyper-tension, Type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. By adopting a healthy lifestyle, the risk of suffering from these diseases may be reduced.
Choose a healthier lifestyle by trying the following action steps:
? Make ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables available for your family
? Always incorporate fruits and vegetables into family meals
? Incorporate physical activity into family time
? Incorporate fruits and vegetables into your meals and snacks at work
? Get involved in your child�s school health; encourage schools to offer fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria, vending machines, school stores, as rewards, and at school parties.
? �Work in� physical activity during your daily routine
? Advocate for a healthy workplace environment.
? Urge state and community leaders to make healthy changes in the environment such as developing community gardens in unused or open spaces and starting farmers markets.
National 5 A Day Month is the perfect time of year to learn more about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, and increasing physical activity. You can learn more by visiting the Healthy South Dakota Web site at www.healthysd.gov. Other good sources of information are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at www.cdc.gov/5aday and the National Cancer Institute�s 5 A Day Web site at www.5aday.gov.