In 1998 nearly 18% of the U.S. population was obese—weighing more than 30% more than ideal weight. Young people, aged 18 to 29, were among the groups in which obesity was increasing fastest. One of the contributing reasons for obesity and weight gain is physical inactivity. This CDC research was published in the October 27, 1999, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in a special issue on the obesity epidemic. See additional reading for full listing of articles. The good news is that physical activity, combined with decreasing the number of calories consumed, can result in a healthy weight loss. Plus, physical activity has benefits beyond a weigh-in. Fit people feel better. They are stronger, have greater endurance, have better coordination, have an easier time maintaining their weight, and generally can recover more quickly from illnesses or injuries. People who participate in some regular exercise also enjoy that time. They often find they can think clearly while they’re exercising, or else they see it as a time of escape from nagging thoughts. The time of exercise becomes a break from daily activities, much more rewarding than a half hour spent sitting on a couch staring at a television set.
Before beginning a new exercise program, always consult your doctor. Exercise and activity have tremendous benefits, immediately and for the