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Health-minded group launches nationwide bid to trim obesity in US

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WASHINGTON, July 14 (AFP) - A health-minded non-profit group launched a national ad campaign Monday aimed at trimming Americans' ever-expanding waistlines, noting that obesity is now the second highest cause of preventable death in the United States.

The "America on the Move" (AOTM) campaign, launched by the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado, is designed to encourage Americans to eat less and get active in order to slim down.

Researchers at the center saying that 100 or so extra calories can be burned off by taking an extra 2,000 steps each day, or walking about 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles).

"The power of AOTM is that small changes have huge effects on health and the quality of life if done consistently, and experience has shown that nearly everyone can make these small changes without turning their life upside-down," said James Hill, a researcher for the program.

US officials have given the approach an enthusiastic endorsement.

"What we need to do now is urge Americans to get up off the couch, step outdoors onto the sidewalks, parks and trails," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said in a statement.

According to official statistics, obesity causes some 300,000 annual deaths across the United States, at an annual cost of some 117 million dollars.

In 2000, about 65 percent of the adult population of the country was classified as overweight or obese, according to a study by the Atlanta Georgia-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).



COPYRIGHT 2003 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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