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December 27, 2013

Try eating better, exercising this new year

NORMAN — New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or get fit are nothing new, though the simplicity of eating better and moving more could be news to some.

Healthier eating can start as easily — and deliciously — as routinely filling half of one’s plate with fruits and vegetables.

A balanced diet with all food groups can decrease the risk of chronic and potentially fatal illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Likewise, adults who do just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week reduce their risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes — medical conditions that disproportionately affect Oklahomans.

A brisk walk, casual bike ride and water aerobics are examples of moderate exercise, which the CDC defines as activity that raises the heart rate and can cause one to break a sweat.

Children and teens are encouraged to be active at least 60 minutes every day to get or remain healthy.

“Small choices often make a big difference, and that’s true when deciding which foods to eat, which beverages to drink and how we choose to get from point A to point B. Those seemingly ‘little’ things can really affect a person’s health and energy,” said Tara Douglas, health educator at the Cleveland County Health Department and co-chair of the Cleveland County nutrition and fitness coalition. “Fortunately, with knowledge and practice, the healthy choice often becomes the easy choice.”

Oklahomans who are ready to eat better and move more this new year can find practical guidance at ShapeYourFutureOK.

com, a website presented by the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) and the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The site features tips for individuals and families, schools, workplaces and communities, along with links to state and federal health websites with much broader information and practical tools, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s SuperTracker that helps participants keep track of calories, diet choices and physical activity.

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