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September 2006: Be Prepared

           

 

This is the month when summer slips into fall.  It’s also when diets can slip into negligence!  No, not the “maple syrup diet” but diet as in what, how, when and why we eat what we eat and how to improve our habits. 

September is Eat 5 to 9 A Day Month and on 27 September we can celebrate National Women’s Health and Fitness Day.  For the 29th it’s America on the Move Day and on the 30th let’s try Family Health and Fitness Day. 

Is this a surprise that we have to remind ourselves of diet and exercise?  Obesity is not on the wane; it is on the rise and some of our states (e.g. Mississippi being the worst in terms of percent of obese residents) are in trouble.  New York isn’t doing that well compared with Colorado (number one!); we are 18th.

If September is Healthy Aging Month and 25-30 September 2006 is Healthy Aging Week, what can we do for those around us who aren’t part of the “youth culture” of America?  Well, that includes just about everyone over the age of 30!  Take your mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, longstanding family friends – anyone who is an adult – and join with your children and young adults in some form of outdoor celebration of health and physical activity.  Bring a healthy 5 to 9 (five fruits/vegetables/whole grains) picnic basket and a Frisbee; play kickball or softball; even just put on some good walking shoes and walk the waterfront in Canarsie, Coney Island, the Rockaways, Brighton Beach, down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass, at the Brooklyn Bridge, go to Jones Beach – anywhere you like!  You don’t have to step in sand or swim ocean to enjoy fresh air and get good exercise.

This is the month for Leukemia, Prostate Cancer and Sickle Cell Anemia as well.  These are all deadly diseases but with knowledge and good health care they can be overcome or endured.

National Preparedness Month means be ready at home and at work for possible major emergencies.  These can be natural or otherwise – such as hurricanes or bomb threats.  Go to www.ready.gov and find out what you need to have in advance and how to become more informed.

Mostly, let’s be safe and have fun.  Keep your kids in helmets if they bike or skate or board.  Keep yourself in one, too, for that matter!  But don’t stop moving.  The key to combating nearly all of our bad-habits-related illness and disease as human beings is simple:  movement.  Yes, we must eat properly, but you can still have an ice cream cone once in awhile.  It’s really the moving of our major muscle groups with some weight-bearing activity that burns the calories and helps prevent both obesity and many ills such as cardiovascular disease.

It’s apple-eating, crisp-air, sweater-wearing time – so get out there!