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January 18, 2005 • Volume 2 / Number 3 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Guest Commentary by Lynn Swan

Make Real Resolutions: Healthy Eating and Active Living

Lynn Swann The first month of the new year often is a time when people reflect on the past and regroup for the future. That typically prompts a series of resolutions to make changes that will improve our lives. In my time as a professional athlete, I certainly made my own resolutions from season to season. I always vowed to play better and do whatever I could to help my team improve on our record the next year - even after we won a Super Bowl. It was a way to stay focused and strive toward positive goals for myself and my team.

As chair of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS), one of my resolutions for 2005 is to help Americans achieve a healthy weight - a "playing weight" that will add years to your life and make you feel good about yourself. And there is no better time to start than this week, January 16-22, which is Healthy Weight Week.

The PCPFS and the Department of Health and Human Services are committed to helping Americans get to and maintain a healthy weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Surgeon General, about 300,000 adult deaths annually are linked to unhealthy dietary habits and physical inactivity or sedentary behavior, and nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population is overweight. This is unacceptable. Too many of us need to have the whistle blown on our lifestyles!

We know from many studies that there is compelling evidence to suggest that excess body weight is a risk factor for many cancers, including postmenopausal breast cancer, colon cancer, and endometrial cancer, just to name a few. In fact, about 14 percent of cancer deaths in men and 20 percent of cancer deaths in women are related to obesity and overweight.

One way to become active right now is to take part in the President's Challenge, a presidential awards program to motivate all Americans to start and maintain a regular physical activity program for health and well-being. You can earn your way to good health, as well as a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) recognition certificate by taking the President's Challenge, a program of the PCPFS that includes six weeks of physical activity, for both children and adults, at least 5 days a week:

  • For adults, at least 30 minutes of activity a day
  • For youth (ages 6 to 17), 60 minutes of activity a day

You can track over 100 physical activities online by registering at, or you can download a PALA log book. If you don't use a computer you can order a free paper log by calling 1-800-258-8146.

Every day is a chance to make a new start for somebody whose weight and lifestyle put them at risk of preventable illness or death. Resolutions are easy to make. But the PCPFS and our partners are dedicated to helping people translate those resolutions into real, lifesaving outcomes.

Lynn Swann
Chair, President's Council on
Physical Fitness and Sports,
Pro Football Hall of Famer,
Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver