Are you keeping your New Year's resolutions?
The American Dietetic Association's annual National Nutrition Month campaign comes in March, just as the first quarter of the year is ending. Studies have shown that more than half of all people who make New Year's resolutions vow to lose weight, eat better or exercise more.
By March, though, how are the residents of Concordia doing on keeping those New Year's resolutions to get healthier?
Adweek magazine listed "lose weight" as the number-one New Year's resolution people made for 2010, with "exercise more" coming in at number three.
Other studies have consistently ranked losing weight, eating better and exercising in the top five resolutions people make every year.
However, there have also been studies about the success rate for such resolutions, and the bad news is that people typically have a hard time keeping their vows of healthful behavior.
Dr. John Norcross, psychology professor at the University of Scranton, reported on a National Public Radio interview last year that 75 percent of adults successfully tackle their New Year's resolutions to eat more nutritionally and get in shape during the first week of January, but only 40-46 percent are still successful in doing so by June.
Galloway Fitness and the Good For You America nutritional supplement store provided some insight into how Concordians typically do with resolutions to be healthier in the new year.
"The new year is great for me," commented Lisa Galloway, owner of Galloway Fitness.
She regularly sees an influx of new gym memberships and more people on the treadmills during the first part of January, she reported.
Galloway said business at the gym is still strong from when it boosted in January, so her guess is that Concordia residents are mostly keeping good on their promises to exercise and lose weight.
Some of the business right now, though, is coming from people who are coming in to use the tanning beds, as the season of shorts and sleeveless shirts approaches.
The gym rush usually starts to taper off around the beginning of May, Galloway said, but that could be attributed to people exercising outdoors instead of at the gym.
In the fall, people start working out at the fitness center again.
Many local people who made New Year's resolutions to be healthier may have joined the Biggest Loser competition at Galloway Fitness at the beginning of the year.
The competition, which awards cash prizes to the people who shed the most body fat, began on Jan. 6 and runs until mid-April.
Program director Laura Pragman said Biggest Loser started out with 58 participants.
Twelve participants have dropped out so far, leaving 46 in the race to lose the most weight.
Pragman said some participants gave reasons for dropping out of the contest, such as scheduling conflicts, but some quit for unknown reasons.
"Forty-six is still a good number of people," Pragman said. "The weight loss has been good, especially at the beginning, but it's slowed down some."
The Biggest Loser competitors meet Wednesday evenings at the gym, and Pragman arranges for speakers to come most weeks to talk about maintaining healthy habits despite having busy lives.
An associate of Good For You America--Swedish Bitter Herbs, a nutritional supplement provider located in Concordia, reported business for the store basically remains steady all year.
Good for You America and Swedish Bitter Herbs is a joint business that sells nutritional and herbal remedy products to customers all over the world. The business has a few consistent customers within a 50-mile radius, the associate said, but most of the store's orders come from other U.S. states and other countries.
The associate acknowledged that he thinks Americans are moving toward healthier lifestyles in general, as society is becoming increasingly health-conscious.
Truck drivers pull off I-70 to stop at Good For You America's plant on Bismark Street and buy their Original Food Tabs, which are meal replacement tablets that are loaded with vitamins and minerals, the associate reported.
The food tabs are a healthier alternative for truckers who constantly eat fast food on the road.
Good For You America sells other weight-loss and health-boosting products, including BULL Natural Concentrated Pump, which is a high-protein tablet that helps build muscle in athletes.
Those products as well as the store's herbal products sell steadily all year long.
This year's National Nutrition Month theme is "Nutrition from the Ground Up." Nutrition month aims to promote the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's 2009 "Health, U.S." study, about 67 percent of American adults over age 20 are overweight or obese. The American Dietetic Association's goal is to combat unhealthy weight with programs like National Nutrition Month.
Dr. Norcross, from the NPR interview about New Year's resolutions, said the reason most people fail to succeed in their resolutions is because they don't set concrete or attainable goals.
Many people make vague resolutions, like "I am going to drop one pants size," but they don't come up with a plan of how to achieve that goal. Norcross advised that instead of coming up with specific figures of weight to lose, people should resolve to go to the gym three times a week, or cut the late-night sugary snacks from their diet.
Attainable action plans like those are more likely to bring weight-loss results than lofty or poorly thought-out resolutions, he said.