Your most important asset

By Michael Cave

I have written about the importance of saving for retirement and that a good portfolio to achieve your goals should include a mix of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities and money market accounts. But the most important asset you have is your health.

Americans are way down the list of most countries when it comes down to savings, but even further down that list when it comes down to living a healthy lifestyle. America is one of the richest, most innovative countries in the world, so shouldn't we be one of the healthiest too?

The sad truth is, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention America is home to the most obese people in the world. Thirty-three percent of American adults are obese, and obesity in adults has increased by 60 percent within the last 20 years. Obesity in children has tripled in the past thirty years.

These statistics are staggering. But it is not hard to figure out why — the American life-style and diet.

We eat on the go, eating fast food, microwave dinners and fried snack foods that are available 24/7. We eat a diet of packaged, processed and refined foods loaded with sugar and sale to make them "taste good." We eat foods with hydrogenated oils and plenty more ingredients I can't even pronounce.

What to do? Here are some very easy ways to reverse the obesity trend. First, get a complete physical with your physician that includes blood and urine testing. Next get active, get off the couch, turn off the boob-tube, take your dog for a walk, get re-aquainted with your spouse with a 10, 15, or 20 minute stroll through the park, and go on a bike ride with your children.

Seek out the local farmers markets (they are everywhere these days). Fresh fruits and vegetables just taste better than their store bought counterparts. Cut back, not cut out your favorite foods.

These are baby steps but attainable goals. Don't you want to be around to spend that retirement nest egg you worked so hard to accumulate?