Holiday health - keeping calories in count

by Stan Morris e-mail | Twitter

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Thanksgiving is often associated with eating. Most people will tell you that they either ate a little too much or completely indulged. Some call it tradition.

But, those extra calories add up. 3,500 calories can mean an extra pound of fat if gone unchecked, says NEA Wellness Center's Steve Bowen.

A new national report gave Arkansas bad news in terms of health, too. Arkansas ranked 40th in the nation for overall health in this year's America's Health Rankings report.

The state's ranking is up from 50th in 1998. State health officials say that while the gains are encouraging, there is still much to do.

The report is released annually by the United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention.

It says high rates of smoking and obesity are still among the biggest challenges plaguing the health of Arkansans and much of the nation.

About 22.3 percent of Arkansas' 2.15 million adults smoke, and 29.5 percent of the state's 2.86 million residents are considered obese. Nationwide, 18.3 percent of people smoke, and 26.6 percent of the population are considered obese.

Bowen says health can be maintained during this time of the year. "There's still a lot of ways to enjoy the holidays and Thanksgiving without overindulging," he said.

He encourages people not to wait until the end of the year to get back in a healthy routine and to be cautious with how much you eat during this time of the year.

To calculate how many calories are on your plate, click the link next to this story to use the calorie calculator.

For those more interested in fitness, the NEA Wellness Center offers a 7-day free pass for new members who ask at their front desk. Other gyms may have similar offers.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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