At a time when it's estimated that more than 60% of American adults are overweight, a recent report has produced the surprising news that a lower percentage of people in the US today are following diets prescribed by a doctor than in the early 90s. And while it seems that there's still a majority of adults who would like to shift some surplus pounds, the popularity of supervised regimes has declined in favor of diets that people are choosing for themselves.
The information comes in the report Eating Patterns in America by The NPD Group. It also shows how people are more likely to diet as they get older and become more aware of the need to maintain good health in later years.
Changing daily habits
While the study suggests that self-prescribed eating plans are a popular dieting trend, many other observers note the continued concern over obesity levels amongst children as well as adults. In an attempt to improve levels of health and the quality of life across society, ‘America On The Move’ has been set up as a national non-profit organization. One of its targets is to encourage people to take an extra 2000 steps a day - about a mile - as a way to stimulate individual change in daily habits.
Walking is often recommended as a means of making exercise part of an everyday routine. Other strategies include taking the stairs rather than the elevator when only going up a short distance, and parking the car further away in order to finish a daily journey on foot.
The benefits of a moderate approach
In both exercise and diet, it seems that success depends on making changes part of a sustainable routine. It's important to create habits that are relatively easy to maintain and fit in with the demands of everyday life. Sheer inconvenience is probably one of the reasons why some people find it so hard to stick to fad diets or crash workout programs.
As the pendulum has swung from one dieting trend to another, many people have learned to appreciate the value of a moderate approach and a balanced diet. The ‘calories in, calories out’ equation is still important and dieters are becoming better aware of the benefits of portion control.
Water is a very important part of any diet program, and not just because it's important to drink enough. Water rich foods tend to weigh more and fill you up so that you consume fewer calories for the same volume - a principle that nutritionist Barbara Rolls calls ‘Volumetrics’.
Let's hope we continue to learn more about ways to incorporate healthy eating patterns into daily routines.
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