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Health eTips is produced by the staff of the St. Charles County Department of Public Health. The department consists of three divisions - Environmental Health and Protection, Health Services and Humane Services - that provide a wide range of services focused on enhancing the well-being of this community.

If you have questions about the Department of Public Health or have suggestions on public health topics you'd like to see explored in this blog, please email us.

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Aug 10

Walking Benefits

Posted on August 10, 2017 at 9:50 AM by Doug Bolnick


ScaleObesity is a common and costly problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of American adults and nearly 20 percent of our children are obese (defined as having a Body Mass Index greater than 30).

Research shows that obese individuals face higher risks for serious and costly health problems. Obesity related diseases are among our country’s leading causes of death, with it a major factor in the development of:
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Many cancers
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Social and psychological effects, such as discrimination/bullying and low self-esteem

In addition to the health risks, obesity causes significant economic impact. A 2008 study reported that health care costs for treating obesity were nearly $150 billion. Furthermore, businesses report losing between $3-6 billion in productivity due to absenteeism from these chronic health problems related to obesity.

What Can You Do?
Although these numbers are high, the good news is that we can all do something to improve our individual and community health. Regular physical exercise, at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity, contributes a number of benefits. An additional reduction of 500 in daily calorie intake will also contribute to steady weight loss, as one pound of fat equals 3,500 calories.
Family walking along paved path
Take a Walk

One way to become safe and sound is to begin a walking routine with your family or a group of friends. This support network will celebrate your successes and maintain your motivation. When starting the routine, consider these tips:
  • Choose well-fitting shoes and comfortable socks — in this case, it’s better to feel good than to look good.
  • Start slowly and end with a cool down – allow your muscles to loosen and the blood to flow freely to limit chances for injury
  • Stay hydrated
  • Wear layers – you can add or remove to stay warm/cool when weather changes
  • Wear sunscreen – no matter the season, you need to protect your skin from sun damage
  • Find a safe place to walk – if your neighborhood is not pedestrian friendly with sidewalk trails, consider a nearby St. Charles County Park for your routine

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