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[Originally posted May 1, 2005]

A new study confirms what all of us undisciplined adults already knew:

Only 3 percent of Americans follow health advice to keep the weight off, exercise regularly, eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day and avoid smoking, according to a report issued Monday.

My response: Who are these 3% who are giving the rest of us a bad name . . . and how can we get them on the same page as the rest of us?

In dissecting these requirements, the smoking ban gives most of us a needed jolt of encouragement as one where we can put a check in the box for starters. When it comes to exercising regularly . . . this is the biggest challenge. Most of us don’t have the type of jobs (like my uncle’s former mail route) that satisfies the 30-minute per day requirement. I certainly can’t make it out to the gym five times per week. I have been shooting for a goal of 3 times per week. Maybe I can supplement that with some other jogging. The final target of five daily servings of fruit and vegetables just requires a little more focus and planning and commitment.

So what is holding us back from compliance? Health and government officials seem to think that the problem may be one of awareness and communication:

What we really don’t know is how best to communicate information about diet and lifestyle to people. What we are doing doesn’t seem to be working for the people who need it most,” added Lichtenstein, who has advised the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines committee in the past.

Let’s get real here. This is a battle of the will. Don’t pour more money into scare tactics and marketing messages. Our family physician has been giving us the same message for years. We need the control of the Holy Spirit in these areas of discipline. Our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak.