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Local Employers Can Help Employees with Obesity, Healthier Lifestyles Following New Data Released from U.S. CDC Last Week
3/16/2004

FORT MYERS, FL - Following last week's announcement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that obesity is fast approaching tobacco as the leading underlying preventable cause of death in America, local employers in Southwest Florida are finding that there is something they can do close to home to help themselves and their employees learn how to live healthier.
     The public is invited to attend "Enhance Employee Productivity through Healthy Habits," a workshop hosted by the Florida Institute of Government at Florida Gulf Coast University 8:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, April 28 in Student Union 213.
     The workshop falls on the heels of a new study from the CDC (www.cdc.gov ) that said in 2000 the most common actual cause of death in the United States was from tobacco with 435,000 deaths, followed by poor diet and physical inactivity with 400,000, or 16 percent of all deaths.
     In addition, researchers report that obesity and physical inactivity are factors in other top killers including heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.
     Workshop presenter Ava Fluty says research shows that what, how and when a person eats can influence his or her mental and physical performance on the job.
     Fluty says that learning how to eat healthy on the run, doing exercises at the desk to reduce body stress, and knowing which foods digest quickly or slowly can help curb the times in the day when an employee feels sluggish and tired, or the opposite, wired.
     Fluty will address "brain foods" and if supplements and vitamins work. She will also review current trends in diets and their impact, and how to reduce absenteeism through improved overall health.
     The federal government is taking the new study so seriously that Friday it announced a campaign to improve product labels and health education, and to work with restaurants in helping customers make healthier menu choices.
     According to the CDC, 64 percent of adults are obese or overweight. Among children, researchers say the number of overweight or obese youth has almost doubled in the past 20 years. Research data suggest levels are still rising.
     Fluty is a keynote speaker, humorist, seminar leader and consultant with international experience. Her seminars have provided private corporations, government agencies, businesses and individuals with strategies on topics such as communication, conflict resolution, motivation and leadership. Fluty has a master's degree in administration and supervision, a doctorate in nutrition, and is owner and operator of two Lifetime Weight-Loss Centers in Arkansas.
     For more information, contact director of the Florida Institute of Government Joanne Hartke at (239) 590-7815 or jhartke@fgcu.edu.

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