Cape Gazette
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Tuesday Editorial

In Delaware, time to get moving and get healthy

Mar 18, 2014

Dead last.

That’s where Delaware ranks when it comes to exercising. A recent Gallup poll found fewer than half of adults in Delaware exercise at least 30 minutes three times a week. At 46.5 percent, Delaware is last among all 50 states.

With some of the nation’s cleanest, most beautiful beaches, scenic state parks and Dela­ware’s recent investment in improving and extending cycling and walking trails, our small state should be leading the way in exercising, not dead last.

Cape Region runners and walkers of all ages and abilities can find at least one great race nearly any weekend, while the Junction and Breakwater Trail offers a safe and beautiful way for families to get from Lewes to Re­hoboth Beach or just out of the house.

But these opportunities are wasted if people don’t take advantage of them – or, it should be noted, if our parks are closed or their use is limited – and the costs go well beyond lost opportunities.

The same poll on national well-being, which in 2013 interviewed more than 178,000 adults in all 50 states, also found that at 34.3 percent, Delaware has the third-highest rate of obe­sity, and ranks fourth to last when it comes to healthy eating. That’s a serious problem, because obesity is linked to serious health problems.

The poll found people in the 10 states with the highest obesity rate are more likely to report a chronic disease diagnosis – such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabe­tes, cancer and heart attacks – than are people who live in the 10 states with the lowest obesity rates.

Among the findings: More than 1 in 5 people in the most obese states report a diagnosis of depression. Higher rates of chronic disease mean higher health costs and higher insurance rates that everyone must bear. The pollsters do give everyone a bit of a break: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data show 2013 was the coldest and wettest year since 2009.

But come on! When did a little rain or snow hurt anyone? It’s time to pull on the rain boots or walking shoes, get outside and get moving.

The best thing is, we’ll all feel better if we do.

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