Every year, West Virginia ranks among the highest in the nation for a prevalence of obesity among adults. Other obesity-related risk factors - coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and sleep apnea - also are common among our state's residents.
What if there was one single thing we all could do to lower these rates for ourselves? Actually, there is and an opportunity is on the horizon to incorporate it into our lives.
The annual 100 miles in 100 days programs, sponsored by Davis Health System, get off to a start at noon Friday. They're open to single participants, couples or teams of up to 12 members. There's no cost and the benefits are abundant.
According to the American Heart Association, walking just 30 minutes a day can help to:
Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
Improve blood lipid profile
Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
Enhance mental well-being
Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes.
For those who aren't ready to log in a mile on the first day, start out slowly. Walk a short distance and gradually increase that each time. Many newcomers to the program in years past have reported that they felt better overall and found it easy to eventually make the mile trek.
If something so simple - and free - can improve our health, why not give it a try?