Balancing Diet, Physical Activity Key To Combating Obesity Epidemic

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Submitted by Matt Raymond

New Article Makes Recommendations for Public Health Strategies

joggerIs it possible for experts from the leading nutrition and sport medicine professional organizations to come to consensus on how to strategically address obesity? The answer can be found in a peer-reviewed paper, Energy Balance at a Crossroads: Translating the Science into Action, which provides specific recommendations for biological, lifestyle and environmental changes that will successfully guide children and families toward healthier weights.

The paper, published jointly in the July editions of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® and in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, outlines steps to incorporate energy balance principles into public health strategies.

The recommendations include:

* Integrate energy balance into curriculum and training for both exercise science and nutrition professionals and strengthen collaborative efforts between them.

* Develop competencies for school and physical education teachers and position them as energy balance advocates.

* Develop core standards for schools that integrate the dynamic energy balance approach.

* Work with federally funded nutrition programs like the Cooperative Extension Service and school lunch programs to incorporate energy balance solutions.

* Develop messaging and promotional strategies about energy balance that American consumers can understand and apply to their lifestyles.

* Map out and support existing programs that emphasize energy balance.

“We have been discussing and analyzing the obesity epidemic for years. I am ecstatic to see actionable steps toward realistic solutions,” said Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, the IFIC Foundation’s senior vice president of nutrition and food safety and co-author of the paper.

“Addressing obesity prevention through sharing best practices with consumers and community leaders, in addition to undergraduate and graduate level training, is a comprehensive approach that works.”

The paper is an outcome of the October 2012 expert panel meeting titled “Energy Balance at the Crossroads: Translating the Science into Action,” hosted by ACSM, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Agriculture Research Service.

The IFIC Foundation, along with ILSI North America, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American College of Sports Medicine, held a webinar for health professionals Aug. 28 on the same subject as the paper; it can be viewed here.

In addition to Smith Edge, the article’s co-authors are Melinda M. Manore, Oregon State University; Katie Brown, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation; Linda Houtkooper, University of Arizona; John Jakicic, University of Pittsburgh; John C. Peters, University of Colorado, Denver; Alison Steiber, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation; Scott Going, University of Arizona; Lisa Guillermin Gable, Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation; and Ann Marie Krautheim, National Dairy Council.

saladplateIn a related vein, the IFIC Foundation’s Food Insight newsletter published an article in its September issue about a new study in the American Journal of Medicine that suggests that decreased physical activity is a bigger culprit in our nation’s expanding waistlines than increased calorie intake. The story is accompanied by an infographic summarizing key findings.

For interview requests and any other questions, please contact the IFIC Foundation media team at 202-296-6540, Raymond@ific.org.

The International Food Information Council Foundation is dedicated to the mission of effectively communicating science-based information on health, food safety and nutrition for the public good. The IFIC Foundation is supported primarily by the broad-based food, beverage and agricultural industries. Visit foodinsight.org.

Can Pilates Play A Role In Combating Childhood Obesity?

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By Katy Reeve

boytouchingtoesAny physical activity reduces the risk of childhood obesity but there is a special reason why Pilates is considered for the job. All parents will agree that a child of 2013 is not as active as a child of 90’s. It seems hugging the couch for extended periods has its price! Let’s admit it, technology plus the lack of healthy diet is turning our kids into couch potatoes. Thankfully some schools have realized the implications of childhood obesity and they are introducing healthy activities like Pilates exercises to motivate more children.

The idea is to reverse the effects of childhood disorders that are on the rise. To be honest, obesity is not the only concern. It’s even more frightening to know about the secondary disorders that arise due to obesity. Pilates can be a healthy diversion when a child suffers from anxiety symptoms, attention deficit and hyperactivity. Since a modern child is getting lonelier and self-absorbed, a group Pilates session will be a nice opportunity to socialize and make friends.

Why Pilates

For one, Pilates do not emphasize on the spirit of competition. While most kids will love to compete, the comparatively inactive ones would feel left-out. Moreover, Pilates focuses on balance, flexibility and core strength – things that are missing in today’s over-burdened and stressed out kids. In other words, Pilates will serve as an antidote for over-weight kids as well as those who are prone to obesity.

Pilates sets the beginning for other physical activities. A child who is well-versed in basic Pilates will be motivated towards other sports later on. However they should not be compelled to pursue sports as a career. Pilates or any other sport can set the trend of a fitter lifestyle in later years during, and after child growth. An active child is less prone to getting over-weight This way Pilates will play a major role in combating obesity.

Kids Friendly Pilates

happychildrenPilates is associated with mind and body health and if kids practice Pilates exercises regularly, they can develop into healthy and strong adults. Kids Friendly Pilates exercises are low intensity exercises that focus on eliminating obesity-related issues like shallow breathing, bad posture and muscle tightness. If your child remains slouched at his computer for hours, he is likely to develop a hunched back which may persist forever. Simple Pilates poses and exercises inspire children to be more agile and straighter rather than slumpy or inactive.

Nicole Kantas, a Pilates instructor, pointed out, “The metabolic rate of an active child is higher and this reduces unhealthy fat deposition”. She further states that Pilates burns more calories from the mid-section or the core. As a result, the child gets toned muscles. Since Pilates is not similar to gut-crunching Cardio, it’s a safer way to reduce or eliminate childhood obesity.

– Katy is a blogger and a strong fitness advocate. She believes fitness and beauty goes beyond losing a few pounds of weight or applying creams to look picture-perfect. It’s more about internal care, core strength, body sculpting and feeling good inside out.