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285 Eat Well, Play More

Ashland City Greenway

Last week the State of Tennessee released the Eat Well, Play More Tennessee plan to help curb and control overeating and promote physical activity.

Some facts on Tennesseans ...

  • 69% of adults are overweight.
  • 39% of the 10 to 17 age group are overweight.
  • In some counties 52% of the 10 to 17 age group are overweight.
  • The percentages will continue to rise.

The Eat Well, Play More plan will:

  • Decrease obesity
  • Increase physical activity
  • Improve diets

Strategies to success include:

  • Eating more fruits and vegetables
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and the sports drinks
  • Increasing breastfeeding
  • Reducing screen (TV, Video, Computer) time

So the bottom line is that we sit around the television, video games, or computer for entertainment, we eat poorly, and we don't get outside to exercise, do physical activities, or play. In other words we are consuming too many calories and not burning enough calories.

The overweight and obesity problems are not isolated to Tennessee. The epidemic has spread throughout the Nation. The President's Great Outdoors Initiative and Michele Obama's Let's Move are programs designed to increase physical activity.

The programs seem to be suggesting a return (or re-invention) of the lifestyle I had growing up in the 50' and 60's...

I walked or biked to school - the school system did not even have buses to the local schools.

We visited the Farmer's Market regularly and a major part of our diet was fruits and vegetables - mainly because meat was too expensive. We hardly ever ate out, and when we did, it was at a "mom and pop" restaurant - not fast food. We did drink sweet tea, I am from Georgia!

There were no computers or video games, and television consisted of the three major networks and a couple of local channels. The only children programming was on Saturday morning. I did not watch TV.

I played football and baseball. My school did not even have a gym. We went outside for recess unless it rained, then we had to square dance. I also played at home. If I did not have a friend over, I entertained myself for hours playing in the backyard.

I did not have a weight problem and I do not remember any of my friends having a weight problem. We were kids, we played outside all of the time. Playing was something we did well.

While growing up I am sure that I ate a lot of calories; but I also used a lot of calories. I learned to like being outdoors. I enjoyed the outdoors and the outdoors lifestyle. Today, I still want to play. I take great joy in walking, hiking, running, bicycling, and climbing. These activities are a part of me much like personality traits. They are life long skills. My childhood might not be the best example of an Eat Well, Play More lifestyle; but it is close.

The Eat Well, Play More Program is in it's infancy. Hopefully the goals of the program listed above will be reached. We are particularly interested in the possibilities of adding to the public outdoor recreational areas (parks and natural areas) and improving the infrastructure allowing more bicycling and walking paths, lanes, sidewalks, and ways. The State has to make active transportation (not sitting in a car) safe, inviting, and fun.

We are trying to do our part to promote the outdoor lifestyle through the internet. The Journal and Scree posts on Metro to Mountain pertain to the outdoor lifestyle. cloudhiking is an online guide to the trails in the Nashville area (though it is expanding). cloudhiking's pictures and maps try to sell you on using the trails. When I look at entries of the trails we hiked last year, I want to return to the very same park and hike them again - that is what the site is meant to do. We are advertising and living a lifestyle of 'get out there and hike, run, and ride a bike'. Look at the site and you will understand.

Read the Eat Well, Play More document (This is the same document that was linked at the top of the page). It is loaded with information. And let's support Eat Well, Play More.

Happy play lots more trails


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