Obesity rates continue to grow, and all eyes seem focused on the issue... from the First Lady, to members of Congress, to health officials and academics. The figures are staggering: 2.4 million people joined the ranks of the obese from 2007 to 2009. Currently more than a quarter (26.7%) of the US population is obese. Researchers say the culprit is too little exercise and unhealthy diets with high-calorie meals full of sugar and fat. One local health expert, who happens to be on the board of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, has an idea, “Instant Recess”! Instead of taking cigarette breaks, why not group exercise breaks? She argues that prolonged sitting, or “activity deserts,” are a health hazard. Does being a slave to your desk create a saddle around your waste line? Would you be up for a few jumping jacks before lunch or maybe a quick run around the building (you know like Dwight Schrute did in The Office)?
Toni Yancey, M.D. MPH, Professor, Department of Health Services and Co-Director of the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity at the UCLA School of Public Health; author of Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time