If losing weight is among your New Year’s resolutions, the Fit & Healthy St. Mary’s Coalition has some tips that can help you keep your resolve. The group, led by St. Mary’s Hospital’s Health Connections, promotes three simple lifestyle changes to help individuals achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Simply remember to Eat Right, Get Moving and Reduce Screen Time.

Eating right begins with making smarter choices such as eating foods that are lower in fat and have fewer calories. Eating smaller portions and learning how to read food labels and dietary guidelines also help. In general, consuming fewer calories and increasing physical activity will help someone lose weight.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines recommend a minimum of two hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week .For children and teens the suggestion is 60 minutes of physical activity on most, if not all, days. In order to keep your resolution to maintain a healthy weight, members of the Fit and Healthy Coalition suggest making physical activity and physical fitness a personal goal or a family project.

If looking for ways to find the time to become more active, an easy solution is to reduce the time spent in front of a computer screen or watching television. The amount of time adolescents and children spend playing video games is a contributing factor when looking at the increase in obesity in the county and across the country. Health experts suggest limiting screen time to two hours or less each day unless it pertains to work or homework.

To help individuals and families make healthier lifestyle changes, the Fit and Healthy Coalition is building comprehensive strategies to promote healthy eating, increased physical activity and health education. Currently, 26.9 percent of adults and 16 percents of adolescents in St. Mary’s County are obese. The coalition’s goal is to reduce the number of county residents with a body mass index or BMI higher than 24 by the year 2015.  

For more information on local health and fitness related events, go to the Fit and Healthy