You Are In Control Of Your ‘Weight Fate’

Your genes may create a predisposition toward obesity, but environment and lifestyle are the factors that are most likely to determine your "weight fate." Studies show that a child with an obese parent is 45% more likely to become overweight, mainly due to family lifestyle habits such as availability of junk food, sedentary lifestyles and overconsumption of sugary soft drinks.

Recent studies dispel some of the earlier theories that suggested a person with "fat genes" is sentenced to a lifetime of obesity, regardless of the choices they make. Genetics may play a role in the body's metabolic rate and how food is processed, but that can be mitigated with proper diet and exercise.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 65 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. During the past two decades, the number of overweight children in this country has more than doubled. More than 30% of children between the ages of six and 19 are overweight and 16% are clinically obese.

Busy lifestyles cause many adults and teenagers to resort to calorie-laden fast foods that have little or no nutritional value. Sugary treats are abundant and easily obtained. Soft drinks are especially troublesome because one can of soda contains about a quarter cup of sugar. The average American drinks at least two per day.

The good news is that, to a large extent, you are in control of your "weight fate" and a healthy lifestyle will go a long way towards keeping you out of the obesity statistics. Fortunately Mother Nature has provided us with a vast array of healthy foods to keep us energized, alert and functioning at peak performance. Several daily helpings of fresh fruits and vegetables can give your body the nourishment it needs to stay active and vibrant.

Whole grain breads and cereals provide complex carbohydrates that are digested slowly to help sustain energy levels. Choose only lean meats and low-fat dairy products. A registered dietician can help you develop meal plans that best suit your personal lifestyle.

Regular exercise is essential to maintaining normal weight because it speeds up the metabolism to help burn calories. Remember that exercise does not have to be drudgery so choose an activity that is fun for you. Talk long walks, work in the garden, learn a new dance step, take a swim or simply use the stairs instead of the elevator. Little changes can make a big difference.

Parents who embrace healthy lifestyles set good examples for their children to follow. Get the children involved in meal planning and make sure they get ample opportunities for healthy, fun exercises that keep them physically and psychologically fit. Remember you can't change your genes, but you can change your lifestyle.

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