Ninety percent of those who resolved to eat healthier and exercise more in 2005 will have broken their pledges by February 1. The reason is obvious: it's tough to stick to special diets and it's even harder--especially for busy New Yorkers--to carve out special time to go to the gym everyday.Health experts agree that the key to losing weight and keeping the pounds off is not a special plan, but rather an everyday routine that incorporates healthy eating and physical activity. It is no coincidence that European countries with the lowest obesity rates--Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Austria--also have the highest rates of everyday walking and bicycling. The Dutch and Danes routinely bike and walk to their destinations rather than using motorized transportation. Just getting from point A to point B they burn four times more calories per day than Americans do.This connection between health and transportation is beginning to be recognized here in New York City. NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden, who worked with Mayor Bloomberg to ban smoking thus improving our indoor environment, now has a vision for making it easier for New Yorkers to choose healthy transportation. Frieden, in last month's issue of the American Journal of Public Health called for "modifications of the physical environment to promote physical activity," and more specifically, prescribed sidewalks and parks, to get New Yorkers moving.To realize his vision, Frieden would do well to convince the Department of Transportation to make walking and bicycling more of a priority. While the department has made great strides in reducing pedestrian fatalities, 10,000 pedestrians are still injured every year, and streets are still much too dangerous to entice all but the most intrepid and courageous New Yorkers onto their bicycles.By convincing the department to ban cars in our city parks, expand the city's bike path network, widen sidewalks at key pedestrian destinations and increase pedestrian crossing time throughout the city, Frieden could make everyday physical activity a reality for millions of New Yorkers who cannot afford the time or cost of a gym membership.
Submitted by admin on December 18, 2007 - 16:56. categories [