Despite known risks, overweight and obesity have become national and global epidemics, and not just for adults. Overweight among children and teens has risen dramatically within the past two decades. Key reasons? In the United States, typical eating and lifestyle patterns provide more calories (energy) than many people need: too many consumed, too few burned in physical activity.
That said, some people don’t need to lose weight. Instead, they need to strive to keep their healthy weight over the years or gain some if they’re underweight.
Are you at your healthy weight? Appearance or fitting into a clothes size is commonly cited the reason to maintain a healthy weight. Yet, even a few pounds of excess weight may be riskier than you think. Research shows that too much body fat increases risks for high blood pressure and unhealthy blood lipid (fats) levels as well as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gall bladder disease, breathing problems, gout, osteoarthritis, and certain cancers. Did you know that excess body weight is linked to premature death, too?
No matter what your age
No matter what your age, pay attention to your weight. Two measures can help you judge your body fat: body mass index (BMI) and waist size. Abdominal fat has more potential health risks than body fat in other spots. (Strenuous workouts build muscle; extra weight from muscle isn’t a problem.) What’s your “measure” of fitness?
As an adult, set your goal on achieving or keeping a weight that’s healthy for you. Your calorie needs to decrease gradually over time. To combat “weight creep” over time, slowly cut back on your food and beverage calories and move more. If you are overweight and need to drop a few pounds, aim for slow, steady weight loss. Cut your calories, but keep your nutrient intake adequate and move! And if you have a health problem or take medication, check with your healthcare provider before starting.
a weight that’s healthy for you. Your calorie needs to decrease gradually over time. To combat “weight creep” over time, slowly cut back on your food and beverage calories and move more. If you are over-weight and need to drop a few pounds, aim for slow, steady weight loss. Cut your calories, but keep your nutrient intake adequate—and move! And if you have a health problem or take medication, check with your healthcare provider before starting.
At any age, a healthy weight is key to a long, healthy, and productive life. The smart way to a healthy weight range is all about balance: calories from food and drinks balanced with calories used. To eat fewer calories, go easy on added sugars, fats, and alcoholic drinks, and choose sensible portions. Keep physically active, too.
Wellness takes more than healthful eating! Regular physical activity promotes health, a sense of well-being, and a healthy weight. Yet most Americans don’t get enough.
For adults, at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity on most days reduce chronic disease risks. If you move longer or with more vigor, you get even more benefits. Sixty minutes of moderate to vigorous activity on most days helps prevent gradual, unhealthy weight gain that may come with adulthood. Need to lose weight during your adult years? You may need 60 to 90 minutes of moderate activity daily. Children and teens need at least 60 minutes on most, if not all, days of the week. Get active . . . stay active . . . become more active.
Spread out your activity, or do it all at once; either way, you get benefits. If you have been inactive, start gradually. Work up to longer, more intense activities.
For overall fitness, fit in a variety of activities:
- For flexibility, try stretching, yoga, and dancing.
- For strength, try weight-bearing activities (walking, tennis) for bone strength, and resistance exercise, such as carrying groceries or weight lifting, to build muscles.
- For cardiovascular fitness, try aerobic activities (running, distance biking) that increase your heart rate and breathing.
Unless you have a health problem, you probably can start moving more now! Talk to your healthcare provider first if you have an ongoing health problem including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, or obesity—or if you’re at high risk for heart disease. Men over age forty and women over age fifty need to check with their doctor, too, if they plan vigorous physical activity, have risk factors for chronic disease, or have health problems.
MODERATE ACTIVITY: WHAT IS IT?
If some activities use more energy than others, you may wonder . . . just what does “moderate physical activity” really mean? It equates to the energy you need to walk 2 miles in 30 minutes. Moderate physical activity uses about 31⁄2 to 7 calories a minute, 150 calories a day, or about 1,000 calories a week. For that amount of energy expenditure, you might spend more time on less vigorous activities, such as brisk walking, or spend less time on more vigorous activities, such as running.
- COMMON CHORES DURATION SPORTING ACTIVITIES DURATION
- Washing and waxing a car 45-60 min. Playing volleyball for 45 min.
- Washing windows or floors 15-60 min. Playing touch football 30-45 min.
- Gardening 30-45 min. Walking 13⁄4 miles (20m./mile) 35 min
- Wheeling self in wheelchair 30-40 min. Basketball (shooting baskets) 30 min.
- Pushing a stroller 11⁄2 miles 30 min. Bicycling 5 miles 30 min.
- Raking leaves 30 min. Dancing fast (social) 30 min.
- Walking 2 miles (15m/mile) 30 min. Water aerobics 30 min.
- Shoveling snow 15 min. Swimming laps 20 min.
- Stair walking 15 min. Basketball (playing a game) 15-20 min.
- Jumping rope 15 min.
- Running 11⁄2 miles (15m./mile) 15-20 m
This post contains the content of the book American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide3RD EDITION