Americans are not taking good care of themselves. Study after study reveals some shortcomings in the way we, as a nation, eat and exercise. Maybe that applies to you, or maybe it doesn’t. Either way, this volume is designed to lead you through the basics of nutrition and help you easily introduce more healthful options into your lifestyle. The book is not designed to turn you into a vegetarian triathlete—although that could happen. It is designed to help you understand what a healthy diet is and how exercise and the foods you eat affect the way you perform, and get you started on a lifelong process of living healthy.
A recent snapshot of the health of American youth was not encouraging. According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education’s Shape of the Nation 1997 survey, nearly half of young people ages 12 to 21, and more than one-third of high school students, do not participate in vigorous physical activity on a regular basis. Fourteen percent of children ages 6 to 11 are overweight and 12% of adolescents ages 12 to 17 are overweight. The percentage of young Americans who are overweight has more than doubled in the past 30 years. But inactivity is only part of the problem. (The NASPE website is www.aahperd.org/naspe .)
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention