A University of Wisconsin doctor blames a “toxic environment” for the nation’s obesity epidemic. That environment, said Doctor Pat Remington, involves the increased availability of foods that are bad for us, combined with a lack of exercise. “The food environment has to change, and the second thing is just the physical activity environment,” said Remington.”We spend so much time sitting in front of the computer, talking on the telephone, using remote devices and not moving about.” His suggestion is to reduce screen time, including TV, computers, video games and cell phones. Also, walking short distances instead of driving while striving for perhaps a small, but steady, decline in caloric intake.

“I recommend people just change the balance, so that they’re exercising a little more, a little more walking, and just watch the calories consumed. Avoid sugar sweetened beverages. There’s no reason, when you’re thirsty, to have calories,” said Remington. Be aware that it takes time to lose weight: the extra pounds were not gained in a month, and will not be lost that soon either. “If you can find 150 to 200 calories in your day that you can eliminate, and burn an extra 150 calories by just walking a mile or two, over the next year or two you will see improvements in health and dropping of body weight.”

Wisconsin ranks 25th in the nation in a new survey on obesity, but the state remains at epidemic levels according to Remington, the Associate Dean for Public Health at the UW School of Medicine.

AUDIO: WIBA’s John Colbert (:40)

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