A program that calls on Americans to take just a few steps toward weight loss is to be launched nationwide in May after signing up more than 100,000 citizens in Colorado.
“America on the Move” is the brainchild of Dr. Jim Hill and colleagues at the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. The program encourages people to take 2,000 steps a day as a way to avoid piling on excess pounds.
The idea is based on the fact that, on average, Americans gain 1.8 to 2 pounds in body weight a year. This equates to about 50 extra calories a day being stored as fat, or around 100 extra calories a day being eaten. Walking about 2,000 steps a day can burn those 100 calories.
Although avoiding weight gain seems like a small hope in a nation where 65% of people are considered overweight or obese, small, achievable goals are exactly what have been lacking in efforts to tackle obesity.
Another part of the problem is too much focus on diet and not enough on exercise, the researchers said.
The say "increasing physical activity is a necessary element” and they don't think that it takes very much exercise to make a big difference.
With funding and support from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, private foundations and companies, the program encourages people to buy a clip-on pedometer that counts the steps they take. The project has a Web site, www.coloradoonthemove.org.
The researchers are monitoring 500 people to assess the benefits and have shown that most people find it easy to incorporate the 2,000 extra steps into their day over a 14-week programme. Indications are that exercise levels are sustained after the 14 weeks, and many people even lose some weight.
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