Is the Nation's Obesity Rate Slowing?
American Dietetic Association Urges Keeping a Healthy Lifestyle
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CHICAGO – In light of a study in the January 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association suggesting the rate of increasing obesity in America may have slowed over recent decades, the American Dietetic Association reminds everyone that obesity prevention through a healthy lifestyle remains an important public health priority.
"Encouraging signs are always welcome when it comes to reducing the national obesity epidemic," said registered dietitian and ADA President Jessie M. Pavlinac. "It will be a great day when we can confirm that Americans are making significant progress in achieving a healthy weight, especially among children.
"More research therefore will be needed to confirm these findings," Pavlinac said. "The American Dietetic Association and our members remain committed to reducing the physical and economic costs of obesity and obesity-related health problems in our country by providing expert guidance to consumers that is personalized, doable and affordable."
The study states obesity estimates "for the period 2003-2004, 2005-2006, and 2007-2008 did not differ significantly from each other. These data suggest that the increases in the prevalence of obesity previously observed between 1976-1980 and 1988-1994 and between 1988-1994 and 1999-2000 may not be continuing at a similar level over the period 1999-2008, particularly for women but possibly for men."
"While this analysis shows a slowing of those Americans developing obesity, it is also true that the most rapidly growing population category is Americans who are becoming severely obese. It is, therefore, extremely important we continue to learn everything we can to understand this disease along with the most effective treatments," Pavlinac said.
Another study in the January 20 JAMA found the prevalence of high body mass index among children and teens in the US has remained steady over the past 10 years.
"These numbers indicate the continued focus our country must place on raising healthy children," Pavlinac said. "The link between childhood obesity and adult obesity is very strong, so it is extremely important that we as parents provide our children with the tools they need to develop and maintain healthy eating plans."
The American Dietetic Association Foundation, the American Council for Fitness and Nutrition and PE4life have joined together to deliver the Healthy Schools Partnership program, working together to offer long-term solutions to the youth obesity epidemic. The program places registered dietitians in schools as "RD Nutrition Coaches," working with physical education coaches to help children change eating behaviors with short, one-on-one sessions while being physically active. For more information on the program, visit www.eatright.org/foundation.
The American Dietetic Association is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the American Dietetic Association at www.eatright.org.