America is in the midst a health epidemic that we as citizens have the power to reverse. Currently, 2 out of every 3 U.S. adults are overweight with half of this number clinically obese. Our health care costs now account for 17% of our budget, with costs escalating at unsustainable rates for individuals and businesses alike. The health of America has become the largest threat to our economic competitiveness, security, and long term success.
While American diets are often cited as the reason for our health challenges, inactivity levels pose a much greater problem. While we consume less than 100 calories per day more today than during the 1960’s (when only 14% of the adult population was overweight) we now walk less than half the amount of steps than during that time. This inactivity has spawned extreme health challenges to our nation’s youth as well with some states reporting rates of overweight children exceeding 40%.
There are 58 obesity related diseases, including the top 3 killers: heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Each of these diseases is either a direct result or exacerbated by a lack of physical activity. Consider the following improvements that could be made to the nation’s health landscape if Americans walked 10,000 steps each day (5 miles):
1. Reduce the initial rate of heart attacks by 90% (source: AHA)
2. Reduce the rate of stroke by 70% (source: AHA)
3. Reduce the rate of Type 2 Diabetes by 50% (source: ADA)
4. Reduce the rates of cancers by 30% -70% (source: NIH)
Please petition Congress, the President, and members of your state government to set minimum standards of movement within schools and workplace environments that ensure every American the opportunity to a healthy life.