The Province, Friday, January 23, 2004 -- Canadian Press

Amish diet beats Atkins by a mile

TORONTO -- Forget the Atkins diet. Try the Amish diet.

New research shows that Old Order Amish, a religious group that shuns technology, have an obesity rate of only four percent despite a meat and potatoes -- and pie -- diet.

Their secret: physical activity in the form of hard work and 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 to six times more physical activity than people living in modern society that surround them." said David Bassett, a professor of exercise science at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and a lead author of the research.

He said the study was conducted to get a sense of how modern technology has altered physical activity levels.