Archive for April 15th, 2011

Overweight and obesity in our society demonstrate calorie imbalance. From the 1970s to 2008, incidents of obesity for adults and for children aged two to five doubled, while the percentage for children aged six to eleven increased from four to twenty percent. The number of obese teens in that same time period tripled to eighteen percent.  Adult obesity increases risks for chronic diseases—type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and other conditions—ultimately intensifying risks for premature death.

The body burns calories in two ways, through normal body functions (metabolism) and physical activity. We have little to no control over calories used through metabolism, but we can control the amount of calories consumed and those burned through physical activity.

Some factors that have contributed to excessive weight gain include:

  • Availability. The average available calories for individuals in the marketplace have increased about 600 calories, primarily in the form of added fats and oils, grains, and milk products.
  • Portion size. We have become an age of super-size everything. It’s normal to eat what is before us. If we choose supersizes—of course, usually at a bargain—we consumer more calories. Weight loss occurs when smaller portions replace those super-sized.
  • Fast-food.  The number of fast-food restaurants has doubled since the 1970s. People in communities with more quick-service eateries tend to have higher BMI (be more obese). Likewise, those who consume one or more fast-food meals per week have a greater risk of becoming overweight or obese.
  • Sedentary activities. Whether in the work environment or engaged in leisure activities, most American expend fewer calories than in earlier years. More sedate jobs cause adults to use less energy. Today’s children engage in more technology generated games than in active sports.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 suggests the following, based on scientific-evidence, to help maintain appropriate body weight.

  • Focus on total calories consumed
  • Monitor food intake
  • Choose smaller portions and lower-calorie options
  • Eat nutrient-dense foods
  • Limit sedentary activities such as television viewing and electronic games

These suggestions from the Dietary Guidelines will help balance calories to manage weight more effectively. Give it a try.

 Source:  http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm . Chapter 2

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