Meals and moves: Together counts

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- "For the first time in our history, American children may face a shorter expected lifespan than their parents."

That quote, taken directly from the Partnership for a Healthier America's website, explains the essence of a growing obesity problem across the U.S. The partnership--which is headed by First Lady Michelle Obama--says that obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years.

Obese and overweight children are more likely to suffer academic, social and financial burdens throughout life. So, what can you do, to prevent this from happening to your children?

Together Counts!
TriWest Healthcare Alliance, the company which administers TRICARE in 21 western states, believes that together, we can make a difference. That's why TriWest joined forces with Together Counts, a nationwide program that inspires active and healthy living. As part of Together Counts, we challenge you:

Eat at least ONE healthy meal each week.
Do at least ONE family activity each week.

That's it - Just one! It can be as simple as cooking dinner together, then going for a walk. Or if you have kids, let them choose a fun activity. A picnic and a game of Frisbee at the park? A barbeque followed by a few hours in the pool?

Because, what it all boils down to is, we are a nation that needs to move again.

What causes obesity?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity now affects 17 percent of all U.S. kids and teenagers.

The CDC listed these as the most common causes of obesity:
· Energy imbalance. This means eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity to burn them off.
· Genetics, which also affects metabolism (how fast one digests food), behavior (staying up late and sleeping in), environment (nowhere and no time to exercise), culture, and socioeconomic status.
· One's behaviors and environment play the largest roles in causing obesity. These also represent the best areas for prevention and treatment.

Want more information?
It's easy to find! Learn more about Together Counts, and how you can help, by visiting www.TogetherCounts.com. Find more healthy living tips on TriWest's Healthy Living Portal, at www.triwest.com/HealthyLiving.