Fitness trumps diet

Lifestyle and lack of exercise, not diet, is the main cause of obesity, according to "Small Choices, Big Bodies: How Countless Daily Decisions Contribute to America's Burgeoning Waistline," a report by Washington-based the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF). After a decade of zealots claiming the food we eat (and the food industry) is killing us, CCF's contention is that sedentary lifestyles and not food are the real threat to health. Explaining how lifestyle shifts over the past several decades have contributed to obesity in America, the CCF study is backed up by two studies,  appearing in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association. Gee, I could have told them that. TVs outnumber people in American households, kids play video and computer games rather than going outside to play, riding mowers and leaf blowers have replaced push mowers and rakes, and in airports, sidewalks move people instead of people moving on sidewalks. All these contribute to an epidemic of inactivity, and even more evident is that everyone drives the two blocks to the grocery store. "Health activists and food police single out 'junk food' as the culprit behind our ballooning behinds, but pay little more than lip service to the couch-potato habits that have become the norm in recent years," says research analyst Trice Whitefield. "Blindly pushing a narrow, food-only approach, these activists lobby for highly restrictive, yet ineffective public health policies including product bans, fast-food zoning restrictions, and 'Twinkie' taxes.'" But let's not forget about personal responsibility. "These misguided policy initiatives ignore not only the recent changes in American lifestyles, but also personal responsibility," says Whitfield. "Ultimately, it boils down to this: Every person has the choice to minimize body weight and increase activity, or to maximize comfort and convenience. Choosing wisely, we can have our cake and eat it too." Now that consumers are totally confused, let's get the message out that one can eat anything, including so-called junk food. Do it in moderation, and follow Nike's famous slogan advice, "Just Do It!" by getting consistent exercise.

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