Creating A Healthier Vermont in the New Year

It’s that time of year again, the time for New Year’s resolutions. Goals are set to eat healthier and go to the gym, and January is spent passionately trying to achieve these goals. But as the year goes by and the excitement fades, the gym is suddenly less crowded and resolutions disappear.

This year, don’t let your resolutions fade. Set positive intentions for your health and take time to realize what you can do to achieve your goals. Although failure is always possible, your resolutions don’t have to restart yearly.

According to a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Vermont has the highest obesity rate for youth ages 10 to 17 in New England at 15.1%. This number is on the rise and the same holds true for adult obesity rates in Vermont. Obesity can put you at a higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more.

Vermont legislators can help make our population healthier by supporting S.141, which follows the health department’s lead making the healthy choice the easy choice by ensuring that healthy beverages – water, 100% fruit juice and milk – are the automatic option for restaurant kids’ meals. Parents would still have the option of requesting a different beverage, but sugary drinks wouldn’t be the default. They can also help make the healthy choice the easy choice by eliminating the sale of all flavored tobacco including e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes and ensuring that schools across Vermont have a strong model wellness policy to create healthy school environments.

This year, why not make your health a priority? Even losing a few pounds can provide you with cardiovascular benefits. Every little step you make is a step in the right direction and a step towards a healthier lifestyle. The American Heart Association offers these first steps toward your weight loss journey:

  1. Set realistic goals – Assess where you are today and set yourself up for success with short term goals that are actually achievable.
  2. Understand how much and why you eat – A food diary or tracking app can help you understand your food habits.
  3. Manage portion sizes – It’s easy to overeat when you are served too much food. Smaller portions can help prevent eating too much.
  4. Make smart substitutions to reduce sodium, saturated fat and added sugar – You don’t have to give up your favorite flavors, but smart substitutions can also cut your calories.
  5. Balance what you eat with physical activity – The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days a week.
  6. Quit smoking – Smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States and little is known about the health impact of electronic cigarettes and vaping products, take steps to quit today.

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