Mary May, Charles, Sharman J., Reames, Elizabeth S.
Weight Management Overview
Many Americans are overweight or obese, and the problem is increasing. The first Dietary Guideline addresses this problem and focuses on helping Americans prevent weight gain and maintain a healthy weight. Many Americans consume more calories than they need without meeting recommended nutrients. To meet nutrient needs:
Body Fat Measures
Too much body fat causes health problems. Two ways to determine body fat are:
adults – weight (kg)/height (meters2)
children – use growth grids that compare BMI with age and gender values
BMI is a more accurate way to tell how much fat a person has than is body weight alone; however, BMI may overestimate body fat in individuals who have muscular builds and underestimate in individuals who have lost muscle mass.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is the measure used now to assess weight status. BMI expresses the relationship (or ratio) of weight-to-height. The BMI is more highly correlated with body fat than any other indicator of height and weight. Individuals with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight. Individuals with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese. Remember, while some people may qualify as "overweight" because of a large muscle mass, they are not necessarily "over fat," regardless of BMI. Arnold Schwarzenegger is an example.
To view the BMI chart, Click Here .
The key recommendations for weight management are:
Successful Weight Loss Strategies
Successful weight loss strategies depend on both sides of the energy balance scale: caloric intake and energy expenditure. Lifestyle change in diet and physical activity is the best first choice for weight loss. Successful weight management requires lifelong commitment to healthy eating and physical activity.
It is important to remember:
Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) Recommended Intakes for Macronutrients
The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) Recommended Intakes for Macronutrients (Protein, Carbohydrate and Fat) are:
Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR – Institute of Medicine)
Weight Management: Key Recommendations for Specific Population Groups
Weight Gain Prevention vs. Weight Loss
Healthy Eating for Weight Management
Preventing weight gain is critical. Losing weight is more challenging than preventing weight gain. The behaviors required to lose weight and prevent weight gain are the same but, once the weight is gained, the extent of the behaviors required to lose weight is more challenging!
To prevent weight gain, it is important to reduce calorie intake 50 to 100 calories a day. In an effort to lose weight, calorie intake should be reduced by 500 calories a day.
To view the Estimated Calorie Requirements Table, Click Here.
Physical Activity Overview
Many Americans are inactive. In fact, 25 percent of Americans reported not participating in leisure time activities. Thirty-eight percent of 9 to 12 year olds watch more than 3 hours television per day. That is why it is so important to be physically active.
What exactly is physical activity? Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles resulting in energy expenditure. On the other hand, physical fitness is the ability to perform physical activity. In addition, physical activity enables one to meet physical demands of work and leisure comfortably. More important, it lowers the risk for chronic diseases and aids in managing mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
Types of Physical Activity and Benefits
Key Recommendations of Physical Activity
Engage in regular physical activity and reduce sedentary activities to promote health, psychological well-being and a healthy body weight.
Key Recommendations for Special Populations
Physical Activity for Weight Management Precautions
Consult physician before starting a vigorous exercise program, if you are:
Food Groups to Encourage Overview
Increased intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk products are likely to have important health benefits for most Americans.
Types of Whole Grains
* Refined grains are grains in which most of bran and some of germ removed nutrients lost during refining - dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, lignans, phytoestrogens, phenolic compounds and phytic acid.
* Enriched grains are those enriched with folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and iron.
Key Recommendations for the Food Groups to Encourage
Key Recommendations for Specific Population Groups
Children and adolescents. Consume whole-grain products often; at least half the grains should be whole grains. Children 2 to 8 years should consume 2 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products. Children 9 years of age and older should consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products.
Food Groups to Encourage Serving Recommendations
Fruits and Vegetables
The number of recommended servings of fruits and vegetables from the USDA Food Guide based on 2,000 calories:
Fruits and vegetables – 9 servings (4 ½ cups)/day
Fruits – 2 cups (4 servings)
Vegetables – 2.5 cups (4 servings)
Dark green vegetables – 3 cups/week
Legumes (dry beans) – 2 cups/week
Starchy vegetables – 3 cups/week
Other vegetables – 6 ½ cups/week
* Note: A 2000-calorie diet is used for reference and discussion. The same number of calories is used on the Nutrition Facts label found on foods.
People who need fewer calories would need fewer servings and people on higher calorie levels would need more servings.
Example: 1200 calories – 2 ½ cups (5 servings)
3,200 calories – 6 ½ cups (13 servings)
The number of recommended servings of grain foods from the USDA Food Guide is:
Grain Group – 6 ounce-equivalents
Whole grains – 3 ounce-equivalents*
Other grains – 3 ounce-equivalents
*1 ounce-equivalent = 1 slice bread
1 cup dry cereal
½ cup cooked rice, pasta, cereal
*Three servings of whole grains may be difficult for younger children to achieve, and it is recommended that they increase whole grains in their diets as they grow.
Milk and Milk Products
Milk and milk products – 3 cups
Milk equivalents =
1 cup low-fat/fat free milk
1 ½ oz low-fat or fat-free natural cheese
2 oz low-fat or fat-free processed cheese
Lactose Intolerance: Choose lactose-free products or consume the enzyme lactase before eating milk products.