Diet Information
Diet and Weight Management Guidelines, 2005

Guide to Weight Control

Diet Information

Dietary Guidelines: Weight Management Advice

Weight control advice from the US government, as set out in its Dietary Guidelines, emphasises the link between (1) excessive calorie-intake in the average American diet combined with lack of physical exercise, and (2) chronic diseases, like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disorders.

Excessive Diet Calories and Lack of Exercise

Weight management involves eating fewer calories while increasing physical exercise. For the first time, the new dietary guidelines emphasises the need for calorie control and increased fitness. The main reason for this is the huge increase in overweight.

Effects of Obesity on Health

Obesity and overweight have reached epidemic levels in the United States. The prevalence of obesity has doubled in the past 20 years. Of special concern is the rise in the number of obese individuals with accompanying comorbidities. Over the last 20 years, the overweight among children and teens has risen significantly. Almost 9 million young Americans, or an estimated 16 percent of children and teenagers are overweight, twice the rate among children and three times the rate among teens. The surge in obesity has triggered a significant rise in weight-related disease. For example, among American adults, diagnosed type 2 diabetes increased 49 percent from 1990 to 2000. In addition, excessive body fat (especially abdominal fat) leads to increased risk of high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, heart disease, stroke, gall bladder disease, breathing problems, arthritis, certain kinds of cancers and even premature death.

Healthy Weight Goals

The goal for adults is to attain and maintain a body weight that optimizes their health. There is no ideal weight, though there is a healthy weight range. For obese people, even small weight loss (e.g. 10 pounds, or 5 percent of initial weight) has health benefits, and the prevention of further weight gain is crucial. The goal for overweight children and teens is to reduce the rate of weight gain without interfering with normal development.

Key Recommendations For Weight Control

  • In order to maintain your body weight within a healthy range, match your calorie-intake with your calorie expenditure.
  • As you get older, prevent weight gain by making small reductions in your consumption of food calories, while also increasing physical activity.
  • If you need to reduce weight, aim for slow, steady weight loss by decreasing calorie intake from food (while maintaining an adequate nutrient intake) and increasing physical activity.
  • To control your body weight and reduce the risk of gradual, unhealthy body weight gain in adulthood and mid-life, take about 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity activity on most days of the week. To maintain weight loss in adulthood, take at least 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderate-intensity physical activity. In both cases, do not exceed your daily calorie requirements.
  • The best types of exercise for overall physical fitness include, cardiovascular conditioning, stretching exercises for flexibility, and resistance exercises or calisthenics for muscle strength and endurance.

See also:
Dietary Guidelines
Health and Diet Guidelines

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