The Latest On Obesity Rates In The United States

It has been 3 decades of obesity rates steadily climbing, however now they actually seem to be stabilizing nationwide. This new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is believed to be from the positive steps we have taken to make nutrition information important. Little changes such as placing nutrition data on food packages and making sure school lunch menus are appropriate for children to be eating are all ways that were able to address the obesity problem in the United States where 2/3 of adults and 1/3 of children and teenagers are overweight or obese. It is still questionable as to why obesity rates have soared through the end of the century.

New studies from 2009 and 2010 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey examined 6,000 adults and 4,111 children measuring their BMI (which is considered the gold standard when dealing with a large population). From these statistics, 35% of US adults are obese, having a BMI of 30 or greater. These statistics are all similar to the 2005-2006 data. Although obesity rates seem to be slowing down, an increasing rate can still be found in racial and ethnic groups. Rates have risen to 58.5% among non-Hispanic black women and to nearly 45% among Mexican American women since 2004. And among children and teens, about 21% of Hispanics and 24% of blacks are obese compared with 14% of non-Hispanic whites.
Also interestingly, more adult men are now overweight or obese as compared with women — 73.9% to 63.7%. However, severe obesity remains more common in women.

The Let’s Move! program founded by First Lady Michelle Obama has raised national awareness through actions such as persuading Wal-Mart to stock more healthful foods and working with professional sports organizations to create public service announcements encouraging children to exercise. Many other places, such as schools are working to reduce access to sugary drinks and high calorie, unhealthy snacks in school.
Even though it is great news that the general population in the United States rates of obesity levels are stabilizing, it still is going to take a big change to get these numbers and statistics to DECREASE! Take a look at what you, your friends, your family, and everyone around you are putting into their bodies. Start making small changes to get these numbers under control. And remember to exercise, exercise, exercise!! Small changes make a BIG difference! Eat healthy and get moving!

Full story: Click Here

‘The Biggest Loser’

Does watching the show “The Biggest Loser‘ have more negative or positive views on overweight individuals? A study has shown that there is a negative consequences of viewers watching this show against overweight individuals.. interesting!

Published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, participants included 59 people, mostly white women who were around the age of 20. Half of the participants were assigned to watch an episode of “The Biggest Loser’ while the others remaining watched a show that could have no influence on the viewer’s feelings about weight. The participants were given surveys one week before viewing the shows and right after viewing the shows, where questions were geared toward obesity.

It was found that after viewing “The Biggest Loser,’ viewers had more anti-fat attitudes including that weight is controllable and there was more of a dislike of overweight people than there was in the control group.  It is interesting to read about this because during this show, we view overweight individuals who have been struggling with their weight, to work hard and achieve a healthy weight goal. You would think that viewers would feel happy and motivated for them, however that wasn’t the case during this study. Authors believe that the mentality of those watching this show are if these people can lose weight, so can everyone else who is overweight or obese if they work toward it.

What do you think about this? Questions? Comments?

 

Super Tracker– Enjoy Your Food, But Eat Less

A great way to kick off the New Years !

A new web tool has been designed to help Americans make healthy food and physical activity choices. Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, released USDA’s new nutrition SuperTracker. This is available at http://www.choosemyplate.gov to help individuals make healthy lifestyle changes as well as reduce their chances of developing chronic diseases. Individuals can access this tool at anytime and can use a variety of features to help achieve their goals. Here are some facts of what the SuperTracker helps you with.

  • Personalize recommendations for what and how much to eat and amount of physical activity.
  • Track foods and physical activity from an expanded database of foods and physical activities.
  • Customize features such as goal setting, virtual coaching, weight tracking, and journaling.
  • Measure progress with comprehensive reports ranging from a simple meal summary to in-depth analysis of food groups and nutrient intake over time.
  • Operationalize the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines.
  • Support family and friends by adding their individual profiles.

Click here to access the SuperTracker. It’s an easy and effective way to keep yourself on track and in shape!

Check out the entire Press Release here: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/newsroom/ST/SuperTrackerPressRelease.pdf

Displaying Time Rather Than “The Crime”

What do you think about picking up a beverage or a food product displaying the amount of time you’d need to run to burn off calories from a sweetened drink rather than showing the calorie amounts? Do these numbers on a food product even mean anything to you or people around you? Researchers are showing that this could be very beneficial in leading to fewer consumers buying sweetened beverages by using this new technique.

By researching African American teenagers in West Baltimore stores, where signs advertised were total calories for the product, calorie percentages of recommended intake for the day and the time amount of jogging it would take to burn off these calories, it was found that the signs with the time amount of exercise displayed was the most effective. Since many people don’t seem to understand the amount of calories they are consuming in the day, having this available can show them easier ways of looking at what they are really putting into their bodies as well as reducing the sales of high caloric foods and beverages.

This particular study showed these signs to neighboring stores and noticed a trend when these signs when up. Sales of non-sugary drinks went up, especially water, and soda, iced teas and sports drink slightly declined. The amount of time for jogging was based on a 110 pound teenager jogging for 50 minutes to burn off a 20 ounce bottle of soda. However, this number would vary for others such as a 150 pound person would only need to jog for about 40 minutes. Jogging was chose in this study because they figured this is an exercise not a lot of people like to do.

Overall, I think that this study was very interesting which is why I chose to blog about it. I think our stores need to think of new ways to display calorie amounts in a way to motivate and change peoples minds of choosing high caloric beverages and foods. We have began to list nutritional data in restaurants and fast food places not too long ago, so why not come up with this new effective technique in many different locations to see the affect it has on people? What are your thoughts?

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Reduce Your Risk For Developing Cancer Today!

Each year, the American Cancer Society estimates the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths expected in the united states in the current year and compiles the most recent data on cancer incidence, mortality, and survival. A total of 1,596,670 new cancer cases and 571,950 deaths from cancer are projected to occur this year. Find your way to create a new healthy lifestyle, by using some small tips below, in order to decrease your risk of developing cancer today.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, there’s quick tips to reduce your risk for developing cancer as well as losing weight in a healthy way!

1. Cut down on sugary drinks and energy dense foods. Include more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans into your diet.

2. Raise your physical activity status. This will not only help you maintain or lose weight, but also reduce your stress levels naturally!

3. Always check your serving sizes. Look at nutrition labels. It only takes small steps to developing a sense of your portion sizes!

4. Add only 30 minutes of exercise to your daily routine every day! Think about how quick 30 minutes go! You can even accomplish this by watching television on breaks or walking on a treadmill while watching your favorite movie. Another option can be pumping up the volume on your speakers to your favorite music to get you going! Once you get moving you won’t want to stop.

5. Limit your consumption of red meats —  like beef and pork. Stick to lean meats and protein sources!

6. Limit your alcohol to 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women. And no, it doesn’t count if you save all your drinks during the week to consume the drinks on the weekend in one night!

7. Try limiting your sodium consumption. Remember, anything processed, you should always check the labels for!

The New American Plate: Aim for meals made up of 2/3 or more of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, or beans and 1/3 or less of animal protein (meat)

Calorie dense foods pack on a lot of calories, are heavily processed, low in fiber, and high in fats and sugar. Some examples include fatty meats like sausage and prime rib, butter, margarine, potato chips, pretzels, french fries, cheeseburgers, sweets and pretty much any baked good. It’s important to limit these foods as much as possible! Remember, moderation is key… try not to make it a habit to eat a muffin every morning for breakfast, instead set a specific day for yourself so you have something to look forward to on that day if that’s what makes you satisfied.

  • Very Low Calorie-Dense Foods
    Includes most fruits and vegetables, skim milk and broth-based soups.
  • Low Calorie-Dense Foods
    Includes many cooked grains, breakfast cereals with low fat milk, low fat meats, beans and legumes, low fat mixed dishes and salads.
  • Medium Calorie-Dense Foods
    Includes meats, cheeses, high fat mixed dishes, salad dressings and some snack foods.
  • High Calorie-Dense Foods
    Includes crackers, chips, chocolate candies, cookies, butter and oil, bacon, full fat mayonnaise.

Take this quiz to see how physically active you are! Click Here.

Take this quiz in order to see how healthy your diet is, it’s quick and simple! Click Here.

Raw cookie dough: Can We Blame For a Whole Lot of Pain?

There is a threat of Escherichia coli in unbaked cookie dough. An investigation into a 2009 outbreak of E. coli said that ready-to-bake cookie dough, eaten raw, was the main reason for this. The CDC believes steps need to be taken to keep it from happening again. The CDC is urging companies to add a warning message, either in commercials or on packaging, to unbaked cookie dough. Officials tried to find the source of these outbreaks and it was linked to the sugar and fat in the cookie dough. It was in the year 2009 that such a case had come up, where there was an outbreak of the E. Coli disease and it had caused about 77 people to land up in hospitals with severe infection from the disease. This had led to calling off about 3.6 million packs of dough from the markets!

Nestle’s U.S. baking division said that it was voluntarily recalling its Toll House refrigerated cookie dough products after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned of the risk of contamination with E. coli bacteria. Its not easy to determine which of the ingredients, or what part of the manufacturing process, led to the contamination of the cookie dough, but it’s possible that flour could be to blame because it goes through much less processing compared to other ingredients.

This is a warning to think before taking a bite of that delicious unbaked cookie dough!

Reducing Your Sugars

A great article from the AHA website on reducing intake of sugar!

To figure out if a packaged food contains added sugars, and how much, you have to be a bit of a detective. On the Nutrition Facts panel, the line for sugars contains both the natural and added types as total grams of sugar. There are four calories in each gram, so if a product has 15 grams of sugar per serving, that’s 60 calories just from the sugar alone, not counting the other ingredients.

Limit your consumption of foods with high amounts of added sugars, such as sugar-sweetened beverages. Just one 12-ounce can of regular soda contains eight teaspoons of sugar, or 130 calories and zero nutrition.

To tell if a processed food contains added sugars, you need to look at the list of ingredients. Sugar has many other names. Besides those ending in “ose,” such as maltose or sucrose, other names for sugar include high fructose corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar, corn sweetener, raw sugar, syrup, honey or fruit juice concentrates.

Tips for Reducing Sugar in Your Diet:
Take sugar (white and brown), syrup, honey and molasses off the table — out of sight, out of mind!

  • Cut back on the amount of sugar added to things you eat or drink regularly like cereal, pancakes, coffee or tea. Try cutting the usual amount of sugar you add by half and wean down from there, or consider using an artificial sweetener.
  • Buy sugar-free or low-calorie beverages.
  • Buy fresh fruits or fruits canned in water or natural juice. Avoid fruit canned in syrup, especially heavy syrup.
  • Instead of adding sugar to cereal or oatmeal, add fresh fruit (try bananas, cherries or strawberries) or dried fruit (raisins, cranberries or apricots).
  • When baking cookies, brownies or cakes, cut the sugar called for in your recipe by one-third to one-half. Often you won’t notice the difference.
  • Instead of adding sugar in recipes, use extracts such as almond, vanilla, orange or lemon.
  • Enhance foods with spices instead of sugar; try ginger, allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • Substitute unsweetened applesauce for sugar in recipes (use equal amounts).
  • Try non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose or saccharin in moderation. Non-nutritive sweeteners may be a way to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding more calories to your diet. The FDA has determined that non-nutritive sweeteners are safe.

 

Source: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Sugars-and-Carbohydrates_UCM_303296_Article.jsp#.TtPIrFa9Z2I

Finding Ways To Eat Out Healthfully!

 

Food choices away from home are important to your health and weight because many of us are eating more meals away from home. Fortunately, making healthful and delicious choices in restaurants is also easier today. Restaurants of all types are responding to customers’ desires with more options in portion sizes, preparation methods and menu items:

  • More appetizer-size portions of popular entrées
  • More baked and broiled choices in meat, fish and poultry
  • More fruit and vegetables side orders to substitute for fries.

Make physical activity part of dining out. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes:

  • Walk from Home or the Office. Pick a restaurant that’s a 10- or 15-minute walk away. You’ll get your meal and 30 minutes of physical activity and avoid the parking hassles.
  • Walk with Family or Friends. Get moving as a group before or after eating. A brisk walk before a meal gives you time to chat. A stroll afterward helps your digestion.
  • Walk Up Instead of Driving Thru. Park your car in the lot and walk inside to get your fast food order. And make fast food an occasional treat rather than a daily habit.

Becoming sensible about serving sizes is an important way to maintain a healthy weight and it’s good for your wallet too.

  • Instead of a large entrée, order an appetizer and a leafy green salad or choose two appetizers for a meal.
  • Start with a small serving like a cup of soup, a junior burger or a small order of fries. If you are still hungry, order something else.
  • Indulge your inner child: Order a kid’s meal at a fast-food restaurant. Many now offer a choice of low-fat milk and fruits or vegetables instead of fries.
  • Savor your steak twice as much. Eat half at the restaurant, then take the other half home to enjoy sliced onto a green salad or as a sandwich on whole-grain bread.
  • Ask for a to-go box as soon as your meal is served. Put half your food into the container for a second meal. That’s two meals for the price of one.
  • Share from start to finish. Order one appetizer for the whole table and then order one dessert with multiple forks. Sometimes, just a bite or two is perfect.
  • Share an entrée. You can ask your server to split the meal in the kitchen or divide it up yourselves at the table.

Source: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6850

What Exactly is Your BMI?

This is a fantastic BMI fact sheet found at eatright.org!

BMI stands for Body Mass Index. It is important to know what your BMI does and does not indicate about your weight, health and lifestyle choices. Your BMI is calculated from your height and weight. It is a fairly reliable indicator of body fat for most adults, with athletes and the elderly being two exceptions. BMI is an inexpensive alternative to direct measurements of body fat, such as underwater weighing, but it is only one of many factors that you and your health-care provider should use in evaluating your health status.

You can calculate your BMI with this formula: [weight (in pounds) / height (in inches) x height (in inches)] x 703

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses BMI to define terms like overweight and obese:

  • Underweight: BMI below 18.5
  • Normal weight: 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight: 25.0 to 29.9
  • Obese: 30.0 and above.

People with very low or very high BMIs tend to have the greatest health risks. Even so, BMI is only one factor in your overall health. For example, if your BMI falls into the normal weight category, you will still have a higher risk of health problems if you:

  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Do not participate in regular physical activity
  • Eat lots of nutrient-poor foods with added fat and sugar.

If your BMI is in the overweight category, you will have a lower overall health risk if you:

  • Get regular physical activity
  • Have blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels that are within normal limits.

Source: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6844

How Are Ingredients Listed on a Product Label?

Food manufacturers are required to list all ingredients in the food on the label. On a product label, the ingredients are listed in order of predominance, with the ingredients used in the greatest amounts first, followed by descending order by those in smaller amounts. The label must list the names of any FDA-certified color additives (example: FD&C Blue No. 1). But some ingredients can be listed collectively as “flavors, spices, artificial flavoring” or in the case of color additives exempt from certification known as “artificial colors” without naming each one.

The first few ingredients should never be sugar, high fructose, or fructose. Here is a short list of some common ingredients that should be avoided/used rarely:

  • Alum
  • Artificial colorings
  • Calcium propionate
  • Carrageenan
  • Casein
  • Caseinogen
  • Collagen
  • Diglycerides/Monoglycerides
  • EDTA
  • Gelatin
  • Glycerin
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oils
  • Hydrolysates
  • Hydrolyzed oat flour
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Lactic acid
  • Lactose
  • Monodiglycerides
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Rennin
  • Sodium caseinate
  • Sodium nitrate
  • Sulfites
  • Vegetable oils

Ingredients for all foods must be listed on the food label, including standardized foods. The label must also list the FDA-certified color additives by name. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Specific ingredient information, such as the source of the protein, also is included. This allows people to avoid substances to which they are allergic or sensitive, or for religious or cultural reasons.

As of January 2006, food manufacturers also must disclose in plain language whether products contain any of the top eight food allergens. While numerous foods have been identified as sources of allergic reactions, 90 percent of the allergic reactions associated with foods are caused by one of eight foods: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soy.

Manufacturers have two options for declaring the presence of these food substances in foods. One option is to provide a “contains” statement next to the ingredient list that identifies the types of allergenic ingredients contained in the product; for example, “contains milk and wheat.” The second option is to place the food source in parentheses next to ingredients derived from one of the eight potential offending foods classes, such as sodium caseinate (milk), albumin (egg).

Source: http://www.fda.gov/food/foodingredientspackaging/ucm094211.htm