Experts Anticipate Focus on Small Lifestyle Changes in 2011 to Fight Obesity
Health experts anticipate small lifestyle changes that will make a big difference when it comes to fighting obesity in 2011.
Beth Hubrich, R.D., executive director of the Calorie Control Council says, “Reducing portions, controlling calories, increasing physical activity and adding more “color” to the plate (e.g., including more fruits and vegetables) can help people prevent weight gain without feeling deprived. These small changes are lifestyle changes and hopefully that is what 2011 will bring – a focus on healthy changes that can be maintained for life.”
The Calorie Control Council is an international non-profit association representing the low-calorie and reduced-fat food and beverage industry. They've made some predictions about weight loss in 2011 that they hope will bring about positive changes to curb the rising rates of obesity.
Rather than "extreme or restrictive diets", Hubrich says the Council recommends a "focus on a lifestyle approach that incorporates small improvements in eating and exercise habits.”
They predict people will be more calorie conscious, engage in employer sponsored wellness programs, focus on preventing weight gain, get more active, and consume more healthy fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
There are several reasons for the Calorie Control Council's expectations. One is that many Americans are trying to lose weight or control weight, and some health experts are recommending small, achievable steps that can prevent weight gain. Food restriction and dieting hasn't worked for reducing rates of obesity.
Dr. James O. Hill of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center says, “It’s always going to be harder to lose weight than to prevent weight gain in the first place. A weight ‘loss’ approach ultimately fails."
Dr. Hill helped create America on the Move Foundation’s “Families on the Move” program, a national weight gain prevention initiative. He says that instead of trying to lose weight, it's time to focus on preventing weight gain because it's more realistic.
Walking a mile each day and taking fewer bites of food "can give us some needed optimism that we might actually be able to begin to turn the tide on the increasing prevalence of obesity.”
Another change for 2011 is the anticipated U.S. departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services dietary guidelines for 2010 that will guide health care professionals and the public for the next 5 years. The focus is expected to be on more physical activity, more fruits and vegetables, less high fat dairy, higher consumption of foods with omega 3 fatty acids (nuts, seeds and fish) and fewer sugar-laden foods and beverages.
The Calorie Council also says "light" food and beverages will lead the way in 2011. Diet sodas, light juices and light yogurts offer the public a way to control calorie intake without feeling hungry and unsatisfied. According to market research publisher Packaged Facts, the diet food industry accounts for $18 billion in sales worldwide, exceeding weight loss programs, surgical interventions, drugs and natural weight loss therapies.
Restaurant chains will be required to list calorie counts, helping consumers remain well informed and conscious about food intake. Included in a 2011 federal mandate is the requirement that restaurant chains with 20 or more outlets provide information on how many calories a healthy person should eat in a day.
The combination of employee wellness programs, calorie information from restaurants, new federal dietary guidelines and the realization from health care providers that drastic diets don't work should bring positive changes in 2011 that can help fight America's obesity problem.