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Get Moving -- and Often, Says New Report

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"Regular physical exercise is the key factor in successful long-term weight maintenance," Simpson tells WebMD. "It's the safest and best way to lose weight."

The CDC's findings are no surprise, Chris Rosenbloom, PhD, assistant professor of nutrition at Georgia State University, tells WebMD. "People are recognizing that exercise is a component [of weight loss], but we're still finding too many barriers in our way to do that. ... I'm on the eighth floor and usually walk the stairs twice a day, but it's gloomy, it's hidden. At one of the CDC's buildings, they actually carpeted a stairwell, decorated it, to encourage people to take the stairs."

She adds: "Research shows that even basic activities of living are eroding because we have such a technological society. ... All these labor-saving devices are horrible for us health-wise. People need to examine their days, think about all the things they do," says Rosenbloom.

Remember, too, you are what you eat, says Rosenbloom, who is a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "Exercise helps, but you can easily undo the benefits with a few bites of your favorite fast food."

Vital Information:

  • The CDC reports more than half of Americans older than 18 are either overweight or obese. Two-thirds of them are trying to lose weight, but only a small number get enough exercise to make a difference.
  • To lose weight, the CDC recommends that people exercise just about every day for at least 30 minutes. A healthy diet also is important.
  • CDC officials emphasize being physically active on a regular basis, and even walking or doing yard work is good for starters. Observers note many don't have easy access to facilities that help them exercise, but even such things as walking longer distances through parking lots and using stairs each day can help.
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