Walking away extra pounds

&to=http://www.ctv.ca' target=_blank>CTV.CA inform that if you've made it a New Year's resolution this year to finally lose some weight, you may want to forget about the Atkins diet - and try the Amish diet.

By following the diet of Old Order Amish in southern Ontario you'll be able to eat plenty of meat, potatoes, eggs, bread and desserts such as cake and pie.

But since the religious group shuns all modern-day technology, you'll also have to put in hours of back-breaking farm labour and walk everywhere instead of driving.

But if you can stick with it, you too can stay slim. New research shows that Old Order Amish have an obesity rate of only four per cent.

According to &to=http://www.globeandmail.com' target=_blank>Globe and Mail their secret: physical activity in the form of hard work and walking. Lots of walking.

The study, published in this month's edition of the journal Medicine & Science & Exercise, found that Amish men walk an average of 18,425 steps daily, and women an average of 14,196 steps.

One man logged an incredible 51,000 steps in a single day while plowing fields behind a team of horses.

In studies done in mainstream Canadian and U.S. society, adults tend to log about 2,000 to 3,000 steps. "The Amish are lean because they easily do six times more physical activity than people living in the modern society that surrounds them," said David Bassett, a professor of exercise science at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and lead author of the research.

He said the study was conducted to get a sense of how modern technology has altered physical activity levels. The Amish living in a small southern Ontario community were ideal subjects because their lifestyle is virtually the same as it was 150 years ago.

"The Amish consciously think about the impact that technology could have on their daily lives," Dr. Bassett said. "That's something all of us should do. It doesn't mean we have to turn back the clock and live like farmers. But it does tell us we should make a much more conscious effort to be active if we want to be healthy." Various health authorities in Canada and the United States recommend that adults do 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily, a modest goal that most North Americans do not achieve.

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