2006-10-20 / Health & Wellness

Residents take a giant step for health

YMCA encourages people to walk moreeat less to combat obesity

The obesity and chronic illness crisis is a big issue in the United States. More than 3,000 residents participated in activities to inspire them to take small steps toward improving their health during the recent America On the Move Week at the Simi Valley YMCA.

Participants tracked the number of steps they took during the week.

Collectively they walked more than 11 million steps from Sept. 23 through 30.

They contributed to a national total of more than 9 billion steps taken at Ys around the country, exceeding the YMCA's goal of 1 billion steps for the week. Taking 9.3 billion steps is equivalent to walking the circumference of the earth 187 times, or walking between New York City and Los Angeles 1,860 times.

Adding 2,000 extra steps and eating 100 fewer calories each day can help most Americans prevent the current average annual weight gain of 1 to 2 pounds.

"With 60 million adults-or 30 percent of the U.S. adult population-and 9 million children obese or overweight, increased physical activity for our children and families is critically important," said Mark Elswick, executive director of the YMCA.

Events at the Simi Valley Family YMCA included a proclamation from the city of Simi Valley declaring September as "America on the Move Month," antioxidant/ health screenings and the introduction of new classes such as Irish dancing and kung fu.

America On the Move Week is a part of YMCA Activate America, a national initiative for YMCAs across

the country to further enhance their service to children, adults and families who want to live a healthy lifestyle but struggle to do so.

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