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Natural Awakenings

Daily Self-Care: Every Body Walk Campaign Aims for Healthier Americans

Jun 30, 2011 10:48AM

Walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week, is the first step toward better health for every body type, according to Kaiser Permanente, a leading health plan provider spearheading the nation’s new Every Body Walk! awareness campaign. This simple, take-charge message comes in the wake of an annual national medical bill exceeding $2.5 trillion, with about 80 percent of it spent on treating chronic conditions that can be prevented or treated by regular walking, according to Dr. Bob Sallis, a family physician with the Southern California Permanente Medical Group.

“Walking is an excellent form of exercise for everyone, and for those with conditions like diabetes, asthma, heart disease and depression, a regular walking regimen has the added benefit of helping to manage these diseases [and conditions],” advises Sallis. “I’m a strong believer in the power of walking, and that’s why I literally prescribe it to my patients as frontline medicine—often in place of medications.”

Fifteen years ago, the U.S. surgeon general’s landmark Physical Activity and Health report concluded that Americans’ sedentary lifestyle is a primary factor in more than 200,000 deaths a year. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 70 percent of American adults ages 20 and older are overweight or obese; some 72 million are medically obese. Seventeen percent of U.S. youth ages two to 19 are obese, as well. The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development projects that within a decade, three out of four Americans will be overweight or obese, unless we get moving.

Find motivational videos, health information, walking maps, walking groups and personal stories at

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