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Percentage of fat in U.S. diets decreases

(ran SP edition)

New figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that Americans have dramatically lowered the percentage of fat in their diets over the last 30 years.

"The reduction is from about 45 percent of calories from fat in 1965 to about 34 percent in 1995," the USDA said. That's the good news.

The reason that percentage is down is that we are eating more calories overall so those fat calories are spread over a wider area, so to speak.

"Total fat consumption expressed as a percent of caloric intake has steadily decreased since 1965," the U.S.D.A. said, "However, in the past five years, the decrease in percent of calories from fat is a result of increased total caloric intake and not necessarily due to decreased fat consumption."

THOSE GOOD INTENTIONS: If your resolution this year was to get back in condition, consider these points:

It takes much longer to get out of condition than to get into condition, so, no matter how fit you were when you stopped working out, fitness experts recommend taking it slow when you start again.

Set realistic goals. You can't do it all at once. Start with a 10-minute walk four or five times a week and build up to the exercise program that you left behind.