"Actually, it would take up to nine
hours and 13,000 steps to walk off an entire funnel cake," said
Robin Orr, a University of Illinois nutrition and wellness
specialist who truly believes there are six portions in a funnel
cake. That would enable six people to get their funnel-cake fix for
the price of one confection.
As part of their fight for a healthier
populace, Orr and University of Illinois Extension educators will be
setting up shop in the Illinois Department of Agriculture tent at
the state fair Aug. 13-15 where they'll be asking visitors to keep
track of their steps as they visit fair attractions.
Extension will be selling visors and
pedometers and handing out fair maps showing just how many steps it
takes to walk from one place to another on the fairgrounds. "For
example, it takes 944 steps and approximately 190 calories to walk
from the Orr Building to the Grandstand -- if you cut through the
Swine Barn," Orr said.
"Counting steps raises your awareness
of exactly how much energy you're expending. And that helps you make
a good choice when you're yearning for that funnel cake," she said.
"But people don't attend the state fair
every day," she added. "It's a special occasion, so you might want
to enjoy some of your favorite fair foods in moderation."
Orr said that healthier choices among
fair fare include a 200-calorie large lemon shakeup that you could
walk off in 1,000 steps or 40 minutes and a 270-calorie corn dog
walked off in 1,350 steps or 54 minutes. Orr's simple rule is that
it takes five steps to walk off one calorie.
That Snickers bar, even before it's
been deep fried, is 479 calories or 2,395 steps. "Just keep
walking," said the specialist.
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Fortunately for deep-fried Snickers-bar
eaters, this state fair is mapped out with walking paths so you can
walk, walk and walk some more, Orr said. She encouraged fair
visitors to visit the Walk Illinois booth before going anywhere else
at the fair so they can be sure to count every step they take.
Walkers will be encouraged to keep
logs, and Orr hopes to award a prize each day to the person who's
walked the farthest.
The nutrition and wellness educators
believe that being aware of the number of calories you're taking in
versus the number of calories you're using is an important first
step toward weight reduction.
"Achieving and maintaining a healthy
weight almost always involves making lifestyle changes. Our body
weight and our health are determined by a combination of eating
right and getting enough exercise," she said.
And walking is a great exercise for
anyone who's able to do it. "It's easy, it's simple, and it's not
expensive. It's a weight-bearing exercise that takes no equipment.
Every time you put your heel down, you stimulate bone growth," Orr
"It's also a great activity to do with
other people," she added. "You can talk to people and solve problems
while you walk. You can get to know your family!"
For more information on University of
Illinois Extension's programs to promote the benefits of walking,
[University of Illinois