Monday, November 18, 2013


The secrets to staying fit are not so far away

One thing my husband and I noticed when visiting our son in Moab, Utah, is there are virtually no obese people.  We started looking around for overweight people in grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, the local coffee shop, bicycle rental shops, and even bookstores — and didn't spot a single one. 

Everybody seems to have an active lifestyle, whether it is running, biking, hiking, mountain climbing, or even riding a zip line. Our son doesn't even own a television set.

We purposely looked for women in spike high heels, and didn't see any. Everybody, whether local or visitor, wears sneakers or hiking boots with active wear like T-shirts and cargo pants, sweatshirts and windbreakers. Billboards promote the local 5K fund-raiser or the best trails for hiking or biking.

Fruit smoothies, healthy whole grain breads, granola energy bars, and a particularly large fresh produce section were most prominent in the local supermarket. 

In the grocery stores they feature  the NuVal system to help shoppers make healthier food choices. A small tag on the shelf next to each product rates the nutritional value of each item on a scale of 1 to 100.  The vitamin and mineral content, the sugar and fat content, additives, calorie count, etc…  are all taken into account when deciding the number.

Cartons of fresh strawberries or blueberries were rated 100, and I spotted a few sugar-laden, nutrient-depleted offerings in the cereal aisle that earned a rating of one.  Even the most buff athlete will admit to indulging in occasional treats, as long as the majority of meals consumed are healthy and nutritious.

I guess the bottom line is still we need to "exercise more and eat better" to stay fit.

Wherever we live, we can follow the example of the folks in Moab and enjoy expansive scenic views, not expansive waistlines.

Alice Facente is a community health nurse for the Backus Health System. This advice should not replace the advice of your personal healthcare provider. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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