A study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that obesity rates in the United States did not increase over the last few years. Based on data collected between 2007 and 2008 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adult prevalence of obesity in the United States is still high – approximately 34% are obese. Of children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years, 32% are also too heavy. Although these numbers are still astounding, the rates have stabilized and are mostly unchanged from previous reports.
To healthcare professionals, this study is promising in terms of the nation’s deteriorating health, but by no means has the obesity epidemic resolved. Despite this reported stabilization, there is no sign of improvement. Indeed, data still show that more than two-thirds of adults are above a normal weight. But that doesn’t mean we are doomed to obesity and its related health maladies!
As a dietitian, I am constantly asked, “How can I lose weight?” The magical answer is actually a very simple concept: lifestyle change. In other words, making healthier choices and moving more. My personal mantra for clients is to start slowly by adding 30 minutes of physical activity to your current daily routine and substituting fruits and vegetables for less nutritious foods in the existing diet. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient-dense, full of water and fiber for fullness, and won’t weigh you down. Try this: instead of the soda, candy, chips, or dessert you were going to have today, eat a pear instead. Pears are sweet, filling, and easy to take as a snack. Depending on which treat you were going to eat, a pear may save you as much as 100 to 200 calories!
Go ahead, give it a try! I’d love to hear how these two simple tricks work for you. Remember: never start a physical activity or dietary regimen without first speaking to your healthcare professional.