Magazine article Parks & Recreation

A Nation at Risk, a Profession at a Crossroads

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

A Nation at Risk, a Profession at a Crossroads

Article excerpt

"Obesity isthe dark side of a technologically advanced society."--James Hill, Ph.D., Director, Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center

The health of our nation is at a crossroads, and the park and recreation industry is at the center of opportunity and responsibility. Not a week passes without additional news stories focusing on the obesity crisis in the U.S. The most recent data from the 1999-2ooo National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey aren't encouraging. This survey is considered the most definitive assessment of the weight of Americans. Statistics from this report reveal the following:

* More than 120 million American adults, 64.5 percent of the population, are either overweight or obese. (Obesity is defined as being 30 pounds or more over a healthy weight; overweight consists of being 10 to 30 pounds over a healthy weight.)

These are the highest levels ever recorded.

* Nearly one in three (.:51 percent) of Americans over the age of 20 are obese. That totals 59 million people.

* Approximately 15 percent of children ages 6 to 19 are overweight, totaling 9 million children.

Isn't one's weight just a personal issue? Not necessarily. Study after study adds evidence to the fact that not only does being overweight influence individual's quality of life, but that there is concomitant toll on society. Among the more common concerns with weight gain are cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It's estimated that 300,000 Americans die each year owing to conditions associated with obesity. …

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