NAP For Healthy Lifestyles
December 23, 2013

NAP For Healthy Lifestyles

The new year is a time for resolutions and commitments for many. Of these, losing weight, exercising, working out, and becoming healthier are amongst the top resolutions people commit to year in and year out. In 2014, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) will try to help all Americans become healthier with its New American Plate Challenge, also called the NAP Challenge

As an AICR press release explains, “On January 13, in time to help Americans stick to their New Year’s resolutions, AICR is launching the New American Plate Challenge. [Register at]  Participants – the Challengers – will receive a series of 12 weekly email challenges, each focused on a specific and achievable lifestyle goal, along with evidence-based advice and support.”

For 12 weeks, participants will receive an email the Friday before in order to allow them to prep their kitchens and lives for the upcoming week’s challenge. The focus is not on counting calories or points; rather, the focus of the New American Plate Challenge is to help participants learn about proper portions, healthy foods, and other lifestyle advice that the AICR has studied. So the NAP Challenge is no gimmick. It is research-based advice, recipes, and possible exercise plans to help Americans become healthy again.

And about two-thirds of Americans need to participate in this as recent studies show that about that amount are either obese or overweight and thus not healthy. As a nation we must do more; we must take action. The AICR’s NAP Challenge is a great start for all Americans. For those who are neither obese nor overweight, they can participate to help support friends and family. Plus, we could all use a reminder of how to eat smarter, healthier, and with proper portions.

Obesity is more serious than just physical; it “is now recognized as a cause of many common cancers,” heart disease, mental health issues, and many other health concerns. The AICR’s challenge is one meant to help support healthier lifestyles. It is not a fad diet. It is not a get-thin-quick program. The AICR simply wants to support the health of all America and all Americans.

Though I do not really prescribe to New Year’s Resolutions, I do think the New American Plate Challenge is something worth looking into for all Americans. In fact, once they finish the first 12 weeks, I think the AICR should start another 12-weeks program for those who did not participate or hear about NAP until too late. The more we have programs available to help guide us to health, the more likely we are to be able to find health.

Of all the topics I write over for redOrbit, none are more important to me than those that promote healthy lifestyles: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Part of this passion comes from

my upbringing while the rest comes from my own healthy lifestyle choices and actions. I have researched much about healthy eating and exercise as well as other health concerns. I believe in eating healthy and right, exercising regularly, and taking responsibility for our individual health, including minds and bodies. After all, if we do not take responsibility for what we eat and how active we are, who will?

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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