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This October, the American Physical Therapy Association's National Physical Therapy Month to Focus on Nation's Obesity Epidemic
Date:9/18/2007

Month-long Observation Focuses on the Importance of Physical Activity for Adults and Children

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the nearly 100 million Americans who are overweight or obese, physical activity must be a crucial component to weight loss and better health, which is the focus of October's National Physical Therapy Month, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) announced today.

According to a recent study conducted by the Trust for America's Health, a research group that focuses on disease prevention, obesity rates continued their climb in 31 states last year. Health officials say the latest state rankings provide evidence that the nation has a public health crisis on its hands. Last year, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited evidence that found that more than 22 percent of Americans did not engage in any physical activity in the previous month.

A lack of exercise is a major contributing factor to obesity rates. "People who are overweight or obese must follow an appropriate exercise program that includes aerobic conditioning and avoids exercise that can lead to injury," notes Terry Michel, PT, DPT, DSc, CCS, a physical therapist at Boston's Mass General Hospital. "Physical therapists will typically recommend a low-impact form of weight training, such as exercise bands that help avoid excessive joint stress, and modified yoga stretches and Tai Chi for promoting flexibility and relaxation," she adds.

Physical therapists develop fitness plans for both adults and children that promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. For those who are overweight or obese, physical therapists balance the progression of the exercise prescription with the need for joint protection and safety during exercise.

"We are no longer looking at just adults who have diseases resulting from obesity," says physical therapist Susan S Deusinger, PhD, professor
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SOURCE American Physical Therapy Association
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